AAP Rugby

Smith shines as Storm beat Manly, Origin

By AAP Newswire

Melbourne have gone undefeated through the State of Origin period for the first time since 2011 after a late Cameron Smith penalty goal helped them to a controversial 14-13 win over Manly.

Storm coach Craig Bellamy admitted his side had got "lucky" after Manly bolted out to a 12-0 lead, as Sea Eagles coach Trent Barrett also questioned a number of key calls.

But without Origin stars Billy Slater, Cameron Munster, Will Chambers, Josh Addo-Carr and Felise Kaufusi Melbourne fought back to trail 13-12 early in the second half.

The match was then decided on a controversial penalty with nine minutes to play.

It came when the ball bounced back from a contested bomb between Matthew Wright and Suliasi Vunivalu into Trent Hodkinson's head before Joel Thompson picked it up.

Barrett questioned the call and said he'd contact referees boss Bernard Sutton for clarification, while Bellamy was also unsure of the ruling.

Regardless the difference was Smith, who booted home the penalty goal for the Storm's third one-point win of the representative period.

"The one thing I can say about our team during the Origin period is they were gritty," Bellamy said.

"Our big bonus this year was to have Cameron there.

"He's been a little bit more vocal and more engaged than he usually is. Those young guys just fed off him for the whole six weeks."

The win provisionally moves Melbourne to second ahead of St George Illawarra, who play the Wests Tigers this weekend.

Any chances of a repeat bout between Melbourne's Curtis Scott and Manly's Dylan Walker were dashed before kick-off when Walker was sidelined with a knee injury.

But Scott had the last laugh, setting up the Storm's first try which also came in controversial circumstances when an offload from the centre appeared to go forward to Suliasi Vunivalu.

"It's one of those nights where I've got to be very careful what I say," Barrett said.

"I will be having a really good look and asking a few questions about some of the calls that went against us tonight.

"I need to get clarification - if it was an accidental offside it's not a penalty with nine minutes to go. It came off Hodko's head, it's an accidental offside and a scrum.

"The dubious pass for their first try, the Matty Wright strip (on Scott in the second half), there are a few.

"It's heartbreaking given the position we were in - we had to win every game to make the semis."

Manly had 63 per cent of the ball in the first half as Daly Cherry-Evans laid on one of two tries from second-rower Shaun Lane, while he also kicked a field goal just two days after his best Origin performance.

Starting props Martin Taupau and Addin Fonua-Blake were also brilliant, finishing with 249 and 155 metres respectively.