Smith edges towards NRL points record in Storm win
Melbourne Storm maintained their winning start to the season with a second-half rally against Canterbury Bulldogs as Cameron Smith edged towards the NRL points record in an 18-16 success.
The Storm had won their first three matches of the campaign but hopes of a fourth straight success looked to have been hampered by a dismal start at AAMI Park.
Kerrod Holland and Jayden Okunbor each tore up the left to score, with Rhyse Martin's kicks securing a 12-0 lead, while the Bulldogs defended doggedly at the other end.
But a penalty try - awarded when Reimis Smith appeared to hit Will Chambers in the back before he could gather in the in-goal area - brought Melbourne back into the contest before half-time, providing Cameron Smith with a routine conversion to move within six points of Hazem El Masri's all-time record total of 2418.
The Storm were much improved after the break and Tui Kamikamica lunged for the line to give Cameron Smith another simple kick, before the Melbourne great turned provider for Cameron Munster, who danced through. Cameron Smith again kicked the extras.
The hosts' focus was on defending their lead rather than delivering the record for their star man by this stage, yet they still might have let the Bulldogs back into the match.
Will Hopoate's superb take from a towering kick allowed Reimis Smith through to score on the right, but Martin shanked his kick from a tight angle, missing the opportunity to tie the game late on.
FOUR. IN. A. ROW.— Melbourne Storm (@storm) April 7, 2019
It was a grind but we’ve claimed the W. pic.twitter.com/zWv4mGaQHB
In the day's late game, Kalyn Ponga could not save Newcastle Knights from a 13-12 golden-point defeat at home to St George Illawarra Dragons.
Ponga, who is reportedly set to earn a lucrative new contract, brilliantly created a pair of first-half tries for Edrick Lee and Hymel Hunt, although Tyson Frizell crossed between those two efforts after tearing the ball from Mitchell Pearce.
Mikaele Ravalawa burst over on the right in the second half as the Dragons took control, yet a Ponga kick sent the teams into the additional period.
Players on both sides attempted winners, but a rare draw looked to be on the cards until Corey Norman, who scored a last-gasp drop goal in the Dragons' last game, again came up with the goods.
He dispatched a left-footed effort over the posts after 87 minutes to seal the points.