25 Aug 2015

Storm beaten by bottom-placed Knights

6:42 am on 25 August 2015

The Melbourne Storm have blown a golden chance to move into the National Rugby League top four with a shock loss to cellar dwellers Newcastle.

The Storm could have moved above Souths and the Sharks into fourth with a win over the Knights but instead delivered one of their worst performances of the season in the 20-6 loss at AAMI Park.

Melbourne Storm coach Craig Bellamy.

Melbourne Storm coach Craig Bellamy. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

It's the third time this season they have lost to the side sitting on the bottom of the NRL ladder.

Their first half left Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy breathing fire with his team missing 16 tackles and only completing 11 of 18 sets, with just 39 per cent of possession.

The Knights set the tone early, scoring through skipper Kurt Gidley in the sixth minute with the Storm not even touching the ball prior to that.

When they did get their hands on it they made it count with fullback Cameron Munster spinning out of a tackle to touch down.

But that was all the Melbourne faithful had to cheer about in the first half as Newcastle scored another two tries, through second-rower Tariq Sims and then an intercept effort by halfback Tyrone Roberts.

With the Knights returning to AAMI Park for the first time since Alex McKinnon suffered a tragic spinal injury in a tackle on the ground early last season, Sims paid tribute to McKinnon after scoring his try.

Up 18-6 the hungry Knights continued to probe the Storm defence in the second half as the home side struggled to find their rhythm.

Winger Akuila Uate missed a chance to put Melbourne away in the 50th minute when he dropped the ball over the line and he attempted to ground it.

But the heavy defensive toll from the first half took its toll on the Storm and they were unable to conjure a comeback.

An error with seven minutes left on the clock from Storm skipper Cameron Smith typified their night when he kicked a 20m restart out on the full, resulting in a penalty, that Roberts nailed for the match-winning margin.

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs

We have regular online commentary of local and international sport.