x Abu Dhabi, UAE Friday 21 July 2017

Storm just powerful enough

The Melbourne Storm begin the defence of their NRL title with a 14-10 win at the Cronulla Sharks.

The Melbourne Storm began the defence of their NRL title with a 14-10 win at the Cronulla Sharks yesterday. Luke MacDougall's converted try after 49 minutes proved to be decisive in a tight match. "It certainly wasn't a great spectacle but we did what we needed to do and we got the points," said Craig Bellamy, the Storm coach. "Our attack in the first half was particularly poor and it's something that we'll need to work on."

The Newcastle Knights forgot their off-the-field problems as they opened their season with a 20-16 upset win at the Canterbury Bulldogs. The Knights lost Danny Wicks and Chris Houston before the season started when the forwards were stood down after they were charged with drug offences. "We spoke about resolve the whole week and what statement we wanted to make to ourselves, our fans and the league and I think there was plenty of resolve in that performance," said Rick Stone, the Newcastle coach.

There are two more games today, including a derby between the South Sydney Rabbitohs and the Sydney Roosters. And there are also two matches in the English Super League, with the champions Leeds visiting West Yorkshire rivals Huddersfield. Meanwhile, Richard Agar, the Hull coach, has suggested that the Super League copy the NRL in using two referees, in part to make sure play is restarted quickly after a tackle.

Agar said that Wigan, who beat his team 48-24 on Friday, used delaying tactics by stopping his players from getting up to play the ball. "Wigan are very good at it but, if this is the way we want our game to go, we might have to be looking to follow the NRL and get two referees in because it's difficult," said Agar. akunawicz@thenational.ae Rabbitohs v Roosters, 8am, Showsports 3