It wasn’t pretty but it was still just enough for a win – that was the summation from Melbourne after they scraped to an 18-14 NRL victory over Newcastle at AAMI Park on Saturday.
Halfback Cooper Cronk scored a try in each half as the Storm came from behind to continue the Knights’ winless start to the season.
Melbourne were looking to rebound from a disappointing loss to the Sharks last Monday night and while they were on the right side of the ledger, they still weren’t satisfied with the performance.
They finished with an uncharacteristic nine errors with their attack again failing to fire.
Storm assistant coach Adam O’Brien fronted the post-match press conference with coach Craig Bellamy spending most of the week out of Melbourne after the death of his father-in-law.
O’Brien said with the Storm having racked up four wins and one loss to start the season there was still some good signs.
“We’re still not playing real pretty with the footy but we’re finding ways to win,” O’Brien said.
“There’s certainly some willingness from the group to defend and that’s the pleasing part but we’re under no illusion we’ve got some work to do with our attack.
The Knights led 14-6 until Cronk touched down for his second try in the 64th minute, which was converted by captain Cameron Smith.
Newcastle prop Sam Mataora was then penalised at the ruck four minutes later, allowing Smith to equalise for his team.
The home side then sealed the win as they took advantage of a repeat set and caught the Knights short on the left side with winger Richie Kennar crossing in the 73rd minute.
While the Storm went level with competition leaders the Broncos, the Knights felt their stocks were on the rise after the gutsy showing.
They lost centre Sione Mata’utia to a head knock just five minutes into the match and then utility back Danny Levi also left midway through the first half with back spasms.
“To see all the hard work go in and losing a few bodies in the first half and then put ourselves in a position to win and not to win is obviously disappointing,” Knights coach Nathan Brown said.
“They hopefully can learn from what that effort and commitment brings.”
Brown lamented the 11-7 penalty count against his side, which he said was deserved.
“There were three or four things we did that weren’t disciplined enough at this standard,” Brown said.