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Storm win but NRL defence vanishes v Manly

NZN 15/04/2017 Scott Bailey

Melbourne's satisfaction went out the window just like their defence in Saturday's 30-26 try-fest NRL win over Manly at Lottoland.

The Storm held off a late Manly comeback, after the two teams combined for nine tries and 46 points in the first half - the most of any game since round three in 2013.

But after they scored four unanswered tries in the opening 18 minutes and led 30-12 in the seconds before halftime, Melbourne captain Cameron Smith was far from impressed with the win.

"It was a really funny feeling at the end," Smith said.

"Usually when you have a win - even when you don't play to your best - you're usually quite satisfied.

"But I'm not overly satisfied with what we did today."

Perhaps Manly captain Daly Cherry-Evans compared both sides' defence to that of an under-age game.

"I can't remember too many Manly-Storm games that have reflected an under-20s scoreline," he mused.

Melbourne's capitulation started on the halftime siren, when Manly centre Brian Kelly produced a solo effort to reduce the scoreline to 30-16.

"I was really angry at halftime," Smith said.

"To let three tries in, they were just soft tries as well."

The avalanche didn't stop there.

First, Jake Trbojevic bolted onto a spiralling ball from brother Tom to cross, and a grandstand finish was on when Akuila Uate leapt onto a Cherry-Evans bomb to put Brenton Lawrence over in the 66th minute.

But then the Storm's experience showed, as they forced two line dropouts in the final five minutes to hold on in a nailbiter.

"I was really disappointed with our performance, to be quite honest," Storm coach Craig Bellamy said.

"I thought our second half, we applied ourselves a lot better defensively, but it was like we came here just to attack today."

Earlier, Billy Slater showed signs of returning to his best in the same game Cameron Munster and Jesse Bromwich came back from injuries.

Slater set up three first-half tries, including two within four minutes for back-rower Felise Kaufusi, after Manly's Dylan Walker sent a second kickoff out on the full.

He also put himself in position to dislodge what would have been a crucial Kelly try in the 55th minute, in just his fourth game back from an injury layoff that featured just one game in 21 months.

"It looks like it's really freshened him up," Bellamy said.

"His involvements are high and getting a little bit higher each week so we're really happy with the way he's going."

Melbourne winger Suliasi Vunivalu also continued his love affair with Brookvale, scoring two tries and setting up another for fellow winger Josh Addo-Carr at the same ground he crossed for four at last year.

Replacement Manly prop Lloyd Perrett was taken to hospital as a precaution after suffering a sternum injury late in the game.

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