NRL: New Zealand Warriors win pre-season trial against Melbourne Storm

Halfback candidate Hayze Perham scored a match-winning try as the Warriors upset the Melbourne Storm in their opening NRL pre-season trial.

Perham, one of three favoured contenders to fill the clubs vacated number seven jersey in 2019, started off the bench in Geelong but made an immediate impact when he was introduced in the second half.

With the scores tied 6-6, Perham  accelerated through the Storm line from close range with eight minutes to go in Geelong. The Warriors held on to claim a 12-6 victory.

Fellow playmakers Chanel Harris-Tavita and Adam Keighran had solid, if not unspectacular outings as the trio push their case to replace the departed Shaun Johnson.

Standoff Blake Green was missing through injury but is expected back in time for the start of the season next month.

Former Dragon Sam Cook put his hand up should hooker Issac Luke depart the Warriors with a busy game despite spending time in the sin-bin for a professional foul.

The visitors' first-half try was scored by winger Neria Fomai after they caught the Storm defence short out wide.

Junior Kiwis halfback Harris-Tavita showed his class when he orchestrated a move down the Storms' right hand side. He found young fullback Patrick Herbert sweeping around the back who delivered a well-timed pass to Fomai in the fifth minute of play.

The Warriors celebrate Perham's match-winning try.
The Warriors celebrate Perham's match-winning try. Photo credit: Getty

A Scott Drinkwater surge led to the Storm's only try in the final quarter, scored by Cheyse Blair despite a dubious final pass that appeared to be forward.

Storm assistant coach Jason Ryles, who oversaw the trial, says the team was disappointed with the same poor ball control that plagued their 2018 season.

"We made simple, fundamental errors under pressure so we need to work on that really hard between now and round one," Ryles said.

"We completed 18 sets from 36 and they went 33 from 40 so to hold them to 12 points was a credit to how hard we worked but the errors have just got to stop."

Both teams had plenty of stars missing, with Melbourne skipper Cameron Smith sitting on the sidelines as well as Indigenous and New Zealand Maori All-Stars players.

Billy Walters, the son of Queensland legend Kevin Walters, started strongly at five-eighth while Cooper Johns, the son of former Knights playmaker Matthew Johns also had a run for the Storm.

The Warriors play their second and final trial against Wests Tigers in Whangarei next Saturday