Melbourne have withstood a stunning second-half revival by the Wests Tigers to hold on for a 29-20 win in their NRL clash at AAMI Park.
The Storm looked on track for a crushing win, up 26-0 at halftime with second rower Felice Kaufusi bagging a double among their four tries.
But the second half was all Tigers as they ran in four unanswered tries and came within a metre of catching the Storm, with electric fullback James Tedesco brought down just short of the tryline with 12 minutes left on the clock.
Melbourne halfback Cooper Cronk, sealed the result with a field goal with four minutes remaining, capped by a late penalty strike by Cameron Smith who was also backing up from Queensland’s State of Origin win.
The statistics at the break made for awful reading for Wests Tigers coach Jason Taylor with Melbourne controlling 65 per cent of possession, completing 83 per cent of sets compared to the Tigers’ 58 and the home side clocking up 823 run metres compared to 335.
They were all the more impressive with Storm fullback Cameron Munster (ankle) and five-eighth Blake Green (calf) missing from the line-up.
But two very different sides ran out for the second half as the Storm struggled to hold on to their lead.
Tedesco was first on the scoreboard three minutes in as he stepped and jinked his way through the defence to touch down.
Halfback Luke Brooks was next in, quickly followed by centre Tim Simona, with the Tigers taking advantage of a Storm penalty for their marker not being square on the last tackle.
Winger David Nofoaluma then capitalised on a defensive error by Melbourne centre Cheyse Blair to put the Tigers within a converted try before Cronk’s field goal and the late penalty.