A Suliasi Prescott double has helped Melbourne Storm’s Jersey Flegg side return to its winning ways with a hard-fought 24-16 win over the Manly Sea Eagles at Four Pines Park on Saturday afternoon.
Angus Hinchey, Gabriel Satrick and Stanley Huen all returned to the fold following their QLD U19 Maroons duties earlier in the week, a welcome boost as Storm looked to end a streak of disappointing defeats.
An error from the opening set of the contest gifted Manly the ideal opportunity to strike first but the Storm defence managed to hold strong, ensuring the home side didn’t get a jump on them in the early exchanges.
Storm quickly turned defence into attack after a penalty gave them a piggyback out of their own end, fullback Matthew Hill slicing through with a show and go that left the Man
ly defence clutching at thin air to open the scoring in the 6th minute.
After forcing the repeat set, Manly hit back through Cameron Brown in the 21st minute with the winger diving over in the left-hand corner.
Young hooker Suliasi Prescott then broke open the Manly defence with some lethal footwork that bamboozled a handful of would-be defenders to race away for a remarkable 60m solo effort in the 25th minute.
After receiving the ball
just shy of halfway, Prescott’s explosive right-foot step saw him go straight through the heart of the home side’s defence before his elusive footwork and pace saw him breeze past opposing fullback Lehi Hopoate him to score under the posts.
With Manly on the attack looking for a response, an error from Max Hyley landed at the feet of Keagan Russell-Smith who scooped the ball up and despite still plenty of work to do, beat a handful of defenders to race away downfield.
As the defence looked
to track him down, Russell-Smith popped a ball across to Oscar Amosa pushing up in support who scored to make it back-to-back tries in quick succession.
Leading 18-4 at halftime, Storm were in a commanding position but a lacklustre start to the second half quickly invited Manly back into the contest.
A soft try conceded through the middle of the field was compounded by a poor kick chase a few minutes later that resulted in a Manly try from the kick return that suddenly made it just a two-point game in the 44th minute.
Needing a response, Storm found themselves in the arm wrestle with the Manly forwards, battling hard to wrestle momentum into their favour.
Heading into the final 10 minutes of the contest, it was heart in mouth stuff for Head Coach Mark Russell when young centre Siulagi Pio looked to offload the ball while being driven back towards his own in goal area.
Fortunately for Storm, Amosa was there in support and able to snatch the ball from the grasp of the oncoming Manly defence before racing away 80m and linking up with Prescott who crossed for his second try of the afternoon.
That pivotal moment would ultimately prove the difference, with Storm holding on for a valuable two points and extending their impressive run of victories on the road.
Storm will now return to Sydney to face the St George Illawarra Dragons next Saturday at Ziems Park.