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Match Report - Round 16 2002

Eager Beaver blows away the Storm

Greg Prichard - www.smh.com.au
30 Jun '02

Steve "Beaver" Menzies always impresses when he talks about loyalty, but he never gets the point across better than when he goes out there and plays from the heart.

Menzies did it again yesterday, backing up from playing a splendid game for NSW in State of Origin III on Wednesday to lead the Northern Eagles out of the doldrums against Melbourne.

The Storm didn't do anything stunning in the first half, but the Eagles were even shabbier and Melbourne led 16-8 at the break.

But once Eagles coach Peter Sharp had made a few choice points and the players had taken the opportunity to think, it all spun around.

Twenty-eight unanswered points later and the Eagles had blown the Storm away.

It was their fourth win from four starts at Brookvale Oval this season, following on from victories over Sydney Roosters, St George Illawarra and Wests Tigers.

Lock and captain Menzies showed the way, scoring the first of his two tries within one minute of the game resuming to get the home side buzzing again.

There was no stopping the Eagles from there, as Menzies, second-rower Nik Kosef, halfback Luke Dorn, prop Danny Lima and second-rower John Hopoate all made tremendous contributions.

It was a typically wholehearted performance from Menzies, who has had a couple of opportunities to leave the Eagles during their tough times for more money elsewhere.

Each time he stayed, citing club loyalty as the reason.

Last night he was looking for a rest after two games in less than 72 hours.

"I was getting a bit tired out there," Menzies said. "But it was great to get back to Brookvale. I love playing at this ground and other teams are finding it pretty hard to beat us here."

The crowd of 5,484 was disappointing, but the game was only switched from NorthPower Stadium at Gosford early in the week. The Eagles are hoping a run at the finals will bump attendances back up in their remaining games at Brookvale this season.

The Eagles had put the Storm away by midway through the second half.

After Menzies had scored his first, tries followed from wingers John Hopoate and Robert Miles and Hopoate again and after 61 minutes the Eagles were cruising at 30-16.

Menzies then scored his second before the Storm came up with what wouldn't have even registered as a consolation try from prop Peter Robinson.

It was a spectacular improvement by the Eagles from a first half during which the Storm made plenty of mistakes and the Eagles were even worse.

The Eagles made it their business to blow Melbourne away and did it by cutting their error rate down, dictating the pace of the game and keeping the ball alive.

Afterwards, downcast Melbourne captain Stephen Kearney said his side had let themselves down badly.

"We thought we had turned it around last weekend (against South Sydney), but we were too soft today," Kearney said.

"We should have come out with more zest and hunger after half-time, but our second half was just poor."

Northern Eagles: 36 (Tries: Miles 2, Menzies 2, Hopoate 2, Dorn. Goals: Williamson 4/7)
Melbourne Storm: 22 (Tries: Ross, Langi, Swain, Robinson. Goals: Orford 3/4) .

Brookvale Oval, 29 June '02
Crowd: 5,484

Referee: Sean Hampstead

Eagles Team:

Brendon Reeves,
Robert Miles
Albert Torrens,
Ben MacDougall
John Hopoate,
Luke Williamson
Luke Dorn,
Danny Lima
Jamie Goddard,
Nathan Long,
Mark Shipway,
Nik Kosef
Steve Menzies (c).

Replacements:
Aaron Cannings
Mal Kaufusi,
Chad Randall,
Anthony Watmough.