Melbourne Storm’s 26-16 win over Newcastle on the Sunshine Coast has been soured by a shoulder injury to captain Cameron Smith.
- Cameron Smith sustained a low-grade AC joint injury in Melbourne’s win over Newcastle
- Smith was forced from the field during the first half because of the injury
- Parramatta had led 18-0 during the first half against Canterbury before holding on for an 18-16 win
Smith was injured in the 24th minute of play when he lunged awkwardly while scoring his first NRL try since round 20 last year.
He kicked the conversion but then hurried off the field following the restart.
The Storm confirmed Smith had sustained a low-grade AC joint injury.
Despite Smith’s injury, the Storm were always in control of the match.
It was a sixth straight win for the club, which sits in second place on the ladder behind Penrith on 20 points.
Parramatta, who beat Canterbury 18-16 earlier in the day, is also on 20 points in third position.
The Storm, who have scored 88 points in their past two matches, also crossed for tries against the Knights through Suliasi Vunivalu, Ryan Papenhuyzen and Tino Faasuamaleaui.
Cameron Munster took over goal-kicking duties from Smith to add a conversion and two penalty goals to the Storm’s total.
The Knights scored tries through Bradman Best, Aidan Guerra and Enari Tuala, with Kalyn Ponga kicking two conversions.
They have now lost their past two matches to be seventh on the ladder.
Eels survive Bulldogs comeback
Parramatta captain Clint Gutherson scored a double in the win over Canterbury, as the Eels chalked up their best start to a season through 12 rounds since 1978.
But there was no mood for celebration following the unconvincing performance against the Bulldogs, with Eels coach Brad Arthur even asking his players if they still wanted to sing the team song after the match.
After they jumped out to an 18-0 lead in the opening 28 minutes, the Eels — who now have a 10-2 win-loss record this season — were forced to avoid the biggest upset of the season in a poor second half.
Gutherson and Mitchell Moses were both electric in the opening 30 minutes, while Junior Paulo stood up in defence and attack.
The prop gave Parramatta its first try with a nice offload for Moses, before Gutherson scored the next two.
Gutherson’s first came in bizarre circumstances, after Bulldog Dallin Watene-Zelezniak was penalised on the previous set for playing the ball facing his own goal line.
Trailing 18-0 in the 32nd minute, the Bulldogs suddenly came to life with Raymond Faitala-Mariner touching down for their opening try, which was converted by Jake Averillo.
Averillo scored the Bulldogs’ second four-pointer just after half-time, before Foran put Marcelo Montoya through for a converted try to make it 18-16.
The Bulldogs were then left to rue a missed opportunity to level the scores with 24 minutes to play, when Aiden Tolman took a quick tap from right next to the posts.