Cronk seals Storm win over Tigers in NRL

No one does it better than Cooper Cronk.

With the game on the line, Cronk, as he has done for his club and state so many times, booted a clutch field goal to fire Melbourne to a controversial 19-18 NRL victory over Wests Tigers at Leichhardt Oval on Sunday.

Both sides had their chances to win it, with Wests Tigers halves Mitchell Moses and Luke Brooks as well as Storm captain Cameron Smith missing shots at field goal.

However with time almost up in the first section of extra time, Cronk stepped up in the 85th minute to guide his side to their fifth win of the season.

Asked if there was anyone else he’d rather have beside him in those clutch moments, Smith said no.

“He just knows how to get himself in the right position there and when to pull the trigger to have a shot,” Smith said.

“I thought he was going to wait a tackle too long in that set but he just knew what position he wanted to put himself in, he’s very calm in those situations and he’s done it on some big stages before.”

Without skipper Aaron Woods, Sauaso Sue and David Nofoaluma, the Tigers were up to their neck in the game but couldn’t get over the line.

Jason Taylor bit his tongue in light of the NRL sending out an edict last week reminding coaches about not criticising match officials however refused to acknowledge any excuses.

“We can’t use those excuses, we got to extra time,” Taylor said.

“We were a chance to kick two field goals. What’s great is we got to extra time. We were behind by six points and we fought to get the scores level.

“We did as well as Melbourne Storm, they just kicked a better field goal than us.”

After trailing 12-4 at the break, the Storm looked to be sailing to victory on the back of dubious tries to debutant Suliasi Vunivlau and Marika Koroibete.

When Vunivlau collected Tigers fullback James Tedesco high and dislodged the ball, the Storm ran downfield to score.

Vunivlau crossed for his second of the day in the right corner with Tedesco still 50 metres behind play. The Fijian flyer was subsequently put on report, leading to questions as to why the play shouldn’t have been called back.

The last pass in Koroibete’s try from Ben Hampton also appeared to be forward.

They were also denied a possible first half penalty try when Chris Lawrence was held back chasing a Robbie Farah kick. While Richie Kennar was subsequently sin-binned, it is arguable Lawrence was certain to score.

Storm prop Nelson Asofa-Solomona also should have been sin-binned for a second half trip on Moses which will see him come under the scrutiny of the match review committee.

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