Cameron Munster’s return from injury inspires the Storm to defeat Wests Tigers
The return of maestro Cameron Munster has helped get Melbourne’s NRL season back on track despite being all but eclipsed by young partner Jonah Pezet.
The Storm outplayed the Wests Tigers 24-12 at AAMI Park, with the Sydneysiders going four rounds without a win.
WATCH THE VIDEO ABOVE: Cameron Munster explains the Storm are a top four team.
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Melbourne had lost their last two games, coinciding with a serious finger injury against Munster sustained in their round one win.
While he only had one needle surgically removed on Wednesday, Munster did not appear concerned as he led his team to victory.
But he had competition for the spotlight from 20-year-old Pezet, who replaced suspended halfback Jahrome Hughes.
Pezet, who was NSW Origin’s U19 halfback last year, was only showing his second NRL game and showing his amazing talent with one hand in two early tries.
He was also confident of using his kicking game to put the Tigers on the backfoot while finishing with 24 tackles.
Forward coach Craig Bellamy was a happier man than after the previous two rounds.
“Our performance tonight was better than in the last few weeks. It was more our performance on the first lap,” said Bellamy.
“It was arm wrestling in the second half, but it was a much better effort than the past two weeks.
“We still have some things to work on but they were proud to play at home and that was the joy.”
The Storm took a 12-0 lead after 25 minutes, but the visitors were the next crosses.
In his second game since returning to the NRL, England’s John Bateman shook off three defenders and got a ball to fellow second-rower Isaiah Papali’i, who found flying center Asu Kepaoa.
But hopes of a Tigers win took a big dip just before halftime with two forward attempts.
A Munster kick in goal was repelled by winger Xavier Coates while attacking center Justin Olam struck.
And in the 38th minute, Munster picked up the ball in the back of an Olam attack and blasted through a soft defense for a 22-6 lead.
Tigers coach Tim Sheen said those two attempts made life difficult for his team.
“We lost the game in the last 10 minutes of that half when it jumped away from us,” he said.
“I asked them to win the second half and they did and that gave us a chance, but every option we chose seemed like the wrong option.
“We had a number of chances to get back into the game and the effort was there but our execution was very ordinary in a lot of ways.”
The Tigers showed some resilience to fend off repeated charges down their line and were rewarded by star signing Api Koroisau in the 54th minute.
The hooker cultivator got behind the post and Melbourne full-back Nick Meaney left the ball while Koroisau lunged.
The attempt seemed to ignite the Tigers, but the tide turned when they lost a scrum against the lining and had Papali’i filed for yanking Bronson Garlick off the ball.
A subsequent penalty gave the home side a 12-point lead with 15 minutes remaining.
https://7news.com.au/sport/rugby-league/cameron-munsters-return-from-injury-inspires-the-storm-to-victory-over-the-wests-tigers-c-10149904 Cameron Munster’s return from injury inspires the Storm to defeat Wests Tigers