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Friday 22nd February 2013
Melbourne Storm take the honours at Headingley


"they're only the fifth best side in Super League"

You wouldn't expect a team which finishes fifth in the Super League to be good enough to be crowned world champions, and so it proves as the Melbourne Storm take the honours at Headingley. It's no stroll for the NRL Grand Final winners however, as they overcome play-off fancying Leeds Rhinos by a narrow 18-14 scoreline.

After Cameron Smith's opening penalty goal former Wigan favourite Ryan Hoffman crashes through the Rhinos line and hands on to Billy Slater for the first try and and 8-0 lead, but the home side are back in it soon after when Ryan Hall squeezes in at the corner. Kevin Sinfield's first goal of the night reduces the arrears to two, and the captain's penalty goal on half-time sends the teams in level at the break.

Yet Leeds are hit with a two-try salvo early in the second half as Jesse Bromwich and Tohu Harris cross for the Storm, and despite Jamie Jones-Buchanan's excellent effort again goaled by Sinfield, they fall just short;

"It took so much out of us to try and break them down that we didn't take our chances at the other end." explains Rhinos coach Brian McDermott, confusingly;.

"When you look at the tries we conceded they might look simple, but they are on the back of a lot of pressure we have soaked up." he adds.

Meanwhile Storm coach Craig Bellamy is at pains to point out that this whole World Club Challenge malarkey is a serious business;

"We didn't come here to treat this as a trial game, this was important to us." he starts, rather defensively;

"We were here with the right attitude, they've not complained about the cold once or anything like that, and we know we have taken pride in our performance on behalf of the NRL." he concludes.

Yeah but Craig, they're only the fifth best side in Super League, after all.

By Stephen Orford

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