Storm Rains Tries in NRL’s Fiji Debut, Defeating Knights 28-10

Melbourne Storm secured a 28-10 victory over the Newcastle Knights in Fiji’s inaugural NRL-sanctioned game at Churchill Park in Lautoka.

Scoring three tries in the first half and two unanswered tries in the second, the Storm dominated the match.

Playing on home ground, and in the Storm jersey, Fiji Bati captain Tui Kamikamica was excited about the win.

“Just so thrilled to be playing in Fiji, in front of the home crowd, in front of my family who have come to support me and my team,” Kamikamica said.

He said they read the Knights style of play early and capitalised.

“We played the game we planned to execute, we also read their movements and used it to our advantage.

“Hats off to the boys for that win.”

Smarting from their 12-24 loss to the Bulldogs in their first NRL trial game last Friday, and battling the humid weather of Lautoka compared to the Knights, the Storm, with their slick passing, brought their A-game.

In the opening minutes, Jahrome Hughes delivered an inside pass to Eliesa Katoa, resulting in the Storm’s first try. Nick Meaney converted, giving them an early 6-0 lead. Soon after, Xavier Coates scored the Storm’s second try, capitalising on another excellent pass. Jonah Pezet, the five-eighth, added the extras, extending the lead to 12-0. The Knights responded with a try from Enari Tuala, but Kalyn Ponga missed the conversion. Despite this, the Storm maintained their margin when Pezet scored their third try. Bradman Bestpulled one back for the Knights, and this time, Ponga successfully converted, leaving the halftime score at 18-10 in the Storm favour.

The second half saw the Storm extending their lead with tries from Young Tonumaipea and Harry Grant. Jacob Saifiti’s 10-minute binning for a shot on Kamikamica added pressure on the Knights, allowing the Storm to secure a convincing 28-10 victory.

The Storm will take on the Panthers and the Knights go head to head against the Raiders in their respective NRL 2024 season openers in two weeks.

STORM: 1. Ryan Papenhuyzen 2. William Warbrick 3. Reimis Smith 4. Nick Meaney 5. Xavier Coates 6. Jonah Pezet 7. Jahrome Hughes 8. Tui Kamikamica 9. Harry Grant 10. Josh King 11. Kane Bradley 12. Eliesa Katoa 13. Trent Loiero 14. Christian Welch 15. Joe Chan 16. Tristan Powell 17. Tyran Wishart 18. Keagan Russell-Smith 19. Dean Ieremia 20. Shawn Blore 21. Bronson Garlick 22. Young Tonumaipea 23. Lazarus Vaalepu 24. Jack Howarth

KNIGHTS: 1. Kalyn Ponga 2. Enari Tuala 3. Dane Gagai 4. Bradman Best 5. Greg Marzhew 6. Tyson Gamble 7. Jackson Hastings 8. Jacob Saifiti 9. Phoenix Crossland 10. Leo Thompson 11. Tyson Frizell 12. Dylan Lucas 13. Adam Elliott 14. Jack Cogger 15. Daniel Saifiti 16. Jack Hetherington 17. Kai Pearce-Paul 18. Thomas Cant 19. Riley Jones 20. David Armstrong 21. Will Pryce 22. Jed Cartwright 23. Brodie Jones 24. Thomas Jenkins 25. Fletcher Sharpe 26. Laitia Moceidreke 27. Fletcher Myers

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