STRONG DEFENCE: Knights players gang up on Felise Kaufusi (right).
STRONG DEFENCE: Knights players gang up on Felise Kaufusi (right). PAUL MILLER

Classy Storm wingers hold off fired-up Knights

IT took some brilliance from outstanding wingers Suliasi Vunivalu and Marika Koroibete for Melbourne to scrape home 20-16 against a surprisingly impressive Newcastle at Hunter Stadium.

The last-placed Knights, who conceded their 100th try of this NRL season in the defeat, were in the contest right up until the final minute against the first-placed Storm.

Storm halfback Cooper Cronk believed his team was far from its best despite a 79% completion rate.

While Cronk and captain Cameron Smith were fatigued from last Wednesday night's 18-14 Origin loss to the Blues - but still impressive in yesterday's victory - the Storm's wingers were on fire.

Koroibete scored a double and Vunivalu got one.

Vunivalu has the outrageous statistic of 17 tries in just 11 first-grade games.

Koroibete's try in the 52nd minute - which gave his team a 14-6 lead - was sheer power.

He bulldozed over Brendan Elliot to score in the left corner, but another brilliant try to a winger - this time Jake Mamo's second for Newcastle - set up a grandstand final three minutes.

Mamo outleapt Storm fullback Cameron Munster, who earlier produced a classy assist for Vunivalu's try, to score off a beautiful Jarrod Mullen chip kick.

But the Storm, through Smith's unflappable leadership, held on to leapfrog the Sharks at the top of the table on points differential.

STORM 20 (M Koroibete 2, S Vunivalu, T Harris tries; C Smith 2 goals) def KNIGHTS 16 (J Mamo 2, B Elliot tries; T Hodkinson 2 goals) at Hunter Stadium yesterday.


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