Little known winger Grant Anderson scored two tries in an NRL debut to remember as the Storm proved too strong for Sydney Roosters at the SCG on Saturday night.
Anderson, who has been playing for the Sunshine Coast Falcons, moved to Melbourne on a short term contract after a spate of injuries to outside backs and was called up to play the Roosters after Xavier Coates was injured in Origin I.
The 22-year-old made the most of his opportunity, scoring Melbourne's first try midway through the first half and putting the visitors ahead when he scored again in the second half.
According to NRL statistician David Middleton, Anderson was the first debutant to score two tries at the SCG since Wallaby convert Phil Smith for South Sydney against St George in 1971.
There were emotional scenes as the Central Coast product embraced family and friends in the grandstands after the Storm hung on to win 26-18 against a Roosters outfit which lost star playmaker Luke Keary with a head knock.
Keary failed a HIA 10 minutes before halftime and the Roosters missed his direction, particularly as Sam Walker was also forced to spend time on the sideline after a head knock in the second half.
Teenage winger Joseph Suaalii was among the best for the Roosters after a week in camp with NSW and he may be close to an Origin call-up.
Match: Roosters v Storm
Round 14 -
Venue: Sydney Cricket Ground, Sydney
- Storm debutant Grant Anderson thought he was going to score with his first touch in the NRL after backing up a long break by winger Dean Ieremia in just the third minute only for the final pass to go over the sideline
- The Roosters made the visitors pay when Joseph Suaalii crossed at the opposite end just three minutes later after Sam Walker delayed a pass to Joey Manu, who put his winger over with a trademark flick pass.
Superb Suaalii finishes quick Roosters move
- Anderson didn't have to wait long for his first NRL try, with second-rower Felise Kaufusi this time delivering a sublime pass for the rookie winger to score in the 16th minute.
- Halfback Jahrome Hughes appeared certain to score and put Melbourne ahead in the next set of tackles after backing up a break by centre Marion Seve but he veered towards Suaalii, who held him up over the tryline.
Suaalii with the superhuman effort in defence
- The Storm were again made to regret their missed opportunity when Roosters playmaker Sam Walker grubbed in-goal and re-gathered the ball to score a 20th minute try.
- Melbourne fullback Nick Meaney then put Seve over for the Storm's second try in the 33rd minute and both teams had further chances to score before halftime.
- Suaalii appeared set to score his second try but Meaney held him up over the line and Manu had a try disallowed after Daniel Tupou knocked forward a kick from Walker just before the siren.
Meaney does enough to stop Suaalii
- Trailing 12-10 at halftime, the Storm hit the front just four minutes after the interval when hooker Harry Grant sent Seve spearing over for a try.
- The lead continues to see-saw with Manu grubbering into the Melbourne in-goal for second-rower Sitili Tupouniua to pounce and score in the 48th minute.
Tupouniua perseveres and gets the try
- With Walker undergoing a HIA, Paul Momirovski converted the try and despite the return of the boom five-eighth it was the last time the Roosters troubled the scoreboard attendants.
- Instead the Storm powered home, with Anderson getting his second try of a memorable debut in the 61s minute and Kaufusi sealing the win when he broke into the clear to score seven minutes before fulltime.
Double debut delight
Play of the game
He may have been in the losing team at fulltime but Joseph Suaalii enhanced his credentials for a Blues call-up in Origin II with arguably the teen star's most influential performance in the NRL.
One passage of play that underlined his performance was the try-saving tackle on Jahrome Hughes that Suaalii followed up with a bone-rattling hit on Trent Loiero in the next play-the-ball that led to a Sam Walker try at the other end.
The hits keep coming for Suaalii
What they said
"You can see it is so close, just the ruthless edge of some of the games we have been playing, about keeping the lead or putting the foot on the throat at different times. We have let that off and let the door open. You can see the makings of a team there that is going to dance at the top but we have got to be better than we are in those periods," Roosters coach Trent Robinson.
Roosters: Round 14
"Either team could have won tonight but they are a tough team to beat and it is a tough place to win so we are grateful to be going home with the points. I just give our back three a real wrap. Obviously we see their back three as a real danger - Tedesco, Tupou and Suaalii. There is not many better back threes in the competition but I thought our back three held their own good tonight and with all due respect they were probably three of our better players," Storm coach Craig Bellamy.
Storm: Round 14
The Roosters face another tough match against the Eels at CommBank Stadium next Saturday night, while the Storm host the Broncos at AAMI Park on Friday night.
The big concern for Roosters coach Trent Robinson will be the head knock that forced halfback Luke Keary from the field, while Joey Many was placed on report for a high shot on Kiwis team-mate Brandon Smith.
However, the Roosters are expected to have hooker Sam Verrills back from a broken collarbone, while prop Jared Waerea-Hargreaves will be hoping to overcome a hamstring problem that has sidelined him in recent weeks.
Star fullback Ryan Papenhuyzen is nearing a return for the Storm, but coach Craig Bellamy won't have the services of Queensland Origin winger Xavier Coates for up to eight weeks after he was scheduled for ankle surgery.