NRL Round 19 – Match 3 Results: New Zealand Warriors 13 v 6 Melbourne Storm

The disgraced Melbourne Storm’s worries continued to grow on Saturday when they were outclassed by the in-form Warriors 13 – 6 at Mt Smart Stadium in front of 13,120 fans.

New Zealand boosted their finals chances by jumping up to number five on the ladder after they coasted to their fifth consecutive victory, their longest winning streak in nearly decade, which includes their important 12 – 6 win over the Panthers last round.

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Melbourne, however, are on a losing streak having been beaten in their past three games and look to have reached the slump so many have been betting on since news of their salary cup breaches broke.

The Warriors got off to a commanding start on Saturday and were leading by 12 points after the first 15 minutes.

The point scoring got underway six minutes in when New Zealand were awarded a penalty off a Justin O’Neill spill, which James Maloney kicked through from right in front of the posts.

Just three minutes later popular winger Manu Vatuvei scored the Warriors opening four-pointer in the corner after some great lead-up play by Maloney.

Before the Storm could get a chance to fight back, New Zealand scored again five minutes later with a Jerome Ropati 14th minute try in the same corner as their first.

Maloney converted one of their two tries to give them the 12 – nil advantage.

The remainder of the first half was a tense showdown, and with no more points scored 12 points was the lead the home side took to the sheds.

Back in the second half it was more of the same, the Storm finally putting their first points on the board in the 57th minute with a Billy Slater four-pointer after some clever footwork from the fullback. Cameron Smith converted and they trailed by just six with plenty of time left on the clock to turn things around.

But despite both teams’ best efforts the defence their rivals were putting up proved too hard to break through and the only other point scored was a Maloney field goal three minutes from time that extended the Warriors’ winning margin to seven points as they finished 13 – 6 in front.

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New Zealand’s win was fuelled by the return of some big names including Brent Tate and Brett Seymour finally back on field after spending time on the sideline with injuries.

It was an impressive revenge win for New Zealand who had been thrashed 40 – 6 by Melbourne back in Round 7, just a week after the original salary cap scandal had been publicised.

This weekend the Warriors are travelling across the Tasman aiming for their sixth win on the trot when they face South Sydney.

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