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Junior Representative Wrap up: Round 2


The Melbourne Storm have gone down to the Illawarra Steelers 34-20 in a high scoring affair at Comely Banks Reserve on Saturday.


Keen to put last week’s performance behind them, the Storm came out firing in the early exchanges, coming up with the goods in their first full set in good field territory.

Opting to run the ball on last, the Storm shifted the ball to the left with Bishop Walker firing a pass out to centre Siulagi Pio who sliced through on the left edge to grab their first try of the 2023 SG Ball season in just the 2nd minute.


The Storm were quick to expose the Steelers edge defence once again, this time finding plenty of space on the right hand side, with Hugo Peel going over untouched in the corner in the 10th minute.


The Steelers hit back with a try of their own when second rower James Walsh cut back through traffic to slam the ball down in the 13th minute.


The Steelers then made it back-to-back tries in quick succession with fullback Wesley Pring turning on the afterburners on the back of a scrum to burst through a stretched Storm defensive line in the 17th minute.


Momentum was well and truly in the Steelers favour with Kane Graham making his impact known from the bench, nabbing a four pointer to extend the Steelers lead.


Looking to bridge the gap before the break, the Storm hit back in electric fashion, Stanley Huen putting through a perfectly weighted chip and chase for his speedster on the wing Matthew Hill.


Hill charged through and got the perfect bounce and then showed great composure to link back up with Huen who raced away to score in the 29th minute.

Coming out of the sheds trailling 16-14, the Storm looked to complete early and get back into the arm wrestle, with Bishop Walker driving a kick into the corner.


As Steelers winger Jacob Haeta went back to retrieve the ball he placed his foot on the sideline. which opened the door for the Storm to make the most of a full set attacking the Steelers line.


With options to his left, exciting hooker Suliasi Prescott threw an elaborate dummy which fooled the three red jerseys in front of him, parting the sea of defenders to score the Storm’s first try of the second half in the 48th minute.


Unfortunately for the Storm, Prescott’s opposite number Kyan Hjaltason was able to hit back with a try of his own not long later.


The Steelers rolled up their sleeves and produced a series of damaging runs which opened the door for Hjaltason to capitalise on successive quick play the balls and catch the Storm defence on the back foot, burrowing over in the 55th minute.


The next fifteen minutes saw both sides fighting hard to wrestle back momentum into their favour, with both forward packs getting through plenty of work through the middle.


With the game still in the balance until the final 10 minutes, it was two individual efforts from close range from Seth Pearman in the dying stages that would ultimately seal victory for the Steelers.


The Storm will suit up for their third consecutive home game at Comely Banks Reserve on Sunday against the Warriors.

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