|Image via Wikipedia|
It was a perfect setting for the Storm’s Under 18s team on Sunday – their first home game of the year against the top-of-the-table Tigers, a good crowd on a beautiful Melbourne day, capped off by a fantastic game of footy that went down to the last play of the game.
The only thing missing was the fairytale ending, as the Storm went down 30-28 after 70 minutes of high quality junior representative rugby league.
The game was only a minute old when the drama begin with a high bomb from the Tigers five-eighth resulting in a try from their first set of the day. The Storm responded well to this early challenge with some physical defence by their forward back, led by Pride Petterson-Robati and Henry Sang-Yum.
The referee was also enforcing a clean ruck allowing both teams to play at a fast tempo that was entertaining and enjoyable to watch. The Storm were able to create the most opportunities and they were rewarded with three first half tries to lead by 16-14 at the break.
The second half was a replica of the first with 35 minutes of big hits, end-to-end action and some great try scoring by both teams. The Tigers struck first with a converted try before Tremaine Jensen flew high above the pack to score a spectacular Storm try from a cross-kick to put them in front on the scoreboard.
Two more tries to the Tigers looked to have the game sealed for the away team before a late rally from the Storm resulted in a converted try to Upper Hutt born youngster Pride Petterson-Robati with 2 minutes left on the clock. The Storm had 2 more sets on the Tigers line to steal a victory but were unable to come up with the winning play against the competition front-runners.
The Storm were gallant in defeat, proving that they can match it with the very best sides in this competition.
They have now turned their focus to this week’s away game against the Bulldogs at Belmore Oval in Sydney at 1pm, Saturday. This will be followed by three home games in Melbourne on Saturday March 24, 31 and April 7.
Good luck young Storm!