NRL Flashback: Three memorable NZ Warriors v Storm games in Auckland

The suspended NRL season has prevented one of the NZ Warriors' old foes returning to Auckland to contest the Michael Moore Trophy. 

Both teams have a relatively short history, but the Melbourne Storm's is filled with more success, while the Warriors' is more heartache and what might have been. 

Since Storm football manager Michael Moore died in Auckland in 2000, the two sides have enjoyed a strong bond that has grown over the past decade, due to the traditional Anzac clash, but the rivals had played out some intense matches even before that. 

With the Anzac fixture usually played across the Tasman, the more memorable encounters have taken place in Melbourne, but there have been some classics in New Zealand too. 

June 10, 2007 - Warriors 2 Storm 4 at Mt Smart Stadium 

An under-manned Storm side escaped Auckland with an incredible win in a low-scoring affair, which coach Craig Bellamy described as the best win of his career at the time. 

Melborune were without six State of Origin representatives and three other injured players, and had to call on the likes of Matt Rua, who had last played in the NRL back in 2002. 

Tony Martin landed a penalty goal for the Warriors in the ninth minute and the hosts held the lead until nine minutes from fulltime, when Kiwi Jeremy Smith scored the only try of the game.

Kiwi Matt Rua in action against the Warriors in 2007.
Kiwi Matt Rua in action against the Warriors in 2007. Photo credit: Photosport

"It was real gutsy," Bellamy said. "I can’t give them a big enough wrap for the resilience and courage they showed. 

"It's my fifth year in Melbourne and this is as good a win as I've had, especially under the circumstances. I've put it up there as one of the best wins I've had."

Warriors 2 (Tony Martin goal) Storm 4 (Jeremy Smith try)

Warriors: 1-Wade McKinnon, 2-Patrick Ah Van, 3-Tony Martin, 4-Lance Hohaia, 5-Manu Vatuvei, 6-Michael Witt, 7-Grant Rovelli, 8-Ruben Wiki (c), 14-George Gatis, 15-Evarn Tuimavave, 11-Simon Mannering, 12-Logan Swann, 13-Michael Luck 

Interchange: 9-Nathan Fien, 10-Sam Rapira, 16-Epalahame Lauaki, 17-Wairangi Koopu

Storm: 1-Steve Turner, 2-Will Chambers, 17-Matt Rua, 4-Anthony Quinn, 5-Israel Folau, 6-Matt Geyer, 7-Cooper Cronk (c), 8-Ben Cross, 9-James Aubusson, 10-Garret Crossman, 11-Clint Newman, 12-Sam Tagataese, 13-Jeremy Smith 

Interchange: 3-Sika Manu, 14-Jeff Lima, 16-Adam Blair, 19-Scott Anderson 

July 27, 2008 - Warriors 8 Storm 6 at Mt Smart Stadium 

A late penalty goal saw the Warriors spring a big upset against the Storm in torrential conditions.

With the game in the balance, Michael Crocker gave away a penalty near the posts, which Lance Hohaia slotted to secure the win. 

In an impressive milestone, Crocker played in a losing side for the first time in 34 games, since joining the Storm in 2006.

"They were too good for us today," said Craig Bellamy. "They out-enthused us, out-worked us, out-everything us."

Sonny Fai runs the ball at Israel Folau.
Sonny Fai runs the ball at Israel Folau. Photo credit: Photosport

The Warriors took the early lead, when Sonny Fai scored for the home side, but the Storm struck back through Kiwi Sika Manu in the second. 

But Crocker's penalty saw Hoahia get the chance to slot the game-winning penalty goal. 

Warriors: 1-Lance Hohaia, 2-Malo Solomona, 3-Brent Tate, 4-Sonny Fai, 5-Aidan Kirk, 6-Nathan Fien, 7-Grant Rovelli, 8-Ruben Wiki, 9-Ian Henderson, 10-Steve Price (c), 11-Simon Mannering, 12-Logan Swann, 13-Michael Luck 

Interchange: 15-Evarn Tuimavave, 16-Sam Rapira, 17-Ben Matulino, 20-Jerome Ropati

Storm: 2-Steve Turner, 18-Brett Anderson, 3-Matt Geyer, 4-Israel Folau, 5-Anthony Quinn, 6-Greg Inglis, 7-Cooper Cronk, 8-Jeff Lima, 9-Cameron Smith (c), 15-Adam Blair, 11-Michael Crocker, 12-Ryan Hoffman, 13-Dallas Johnson

Interchange: 14-Jermey Smith, 16-Sika Manu, 17-Antonio Kaufusi, 19-Russell Aitken

July 12, 2015 - Warriors 28 Storm 16 at Mt Smart Stadium 

The Warriors' most recent win against the Storm was highlighted by arguably the play of the last decade. 

With the game in the balance, Chad Townsend launched a bomb that was caught by Nathan Friend after a massive leap. 

The hooker then landed on Kenny Bromwich and performed a somersault, while throwing the ball to Shaun Johnson between his legs, and the Warriors ended up scoring in the corner through Tui Lolohea.

Coach Andrew McFadden described it as a game-changing play, while Craig Bellamy liked it, but was annoyed it was scored against his team. 

The Warriors led 16-0 at the break, thanks to tries from Lolohea, David Fusitu'a and Bodene Thompson.

But the Storm threatened a comeback in the second, before Friend's heroic play led to Lolohea's second. 

Warriors 28 (Tuimoala Lolohea 2, David Fusitu'a, Bodene Thompson, Shaun Johnson tries; Shaun Johnson 4 goals) Storm 14 (Marika Koroibete, Kenny Bromwich 2 tries; Cameron Smith goal)

Warriors: 1-Sam Tomkins, 2-Tui Lolohea, 18-David Fusitu'a, 4-Solomone Kata, 21-Jonathan Wright, 6-Chad Townsend, 7-Shaun Johnson, 17-Albert Vete, 9-Nathan Friend, 10-Ben Matulino, 11-Bodene Thompson, 15-Raymond Faitala-Mariner, 13-Simon Mannering (c)

Interchange: 8-Jacob Lillyman, 14-Siliva Havili, 16-Charlie Gubb, 23-Sionie Lousi

Storm: 1-Cameron Munster, 2-Marika Koroibete, 3-Will Chambers, 4-Hymel Hunt, 5-Richard Kennar, 6-Blake Green, 7-Cooper Cronk, 8-Jesse Bromwich, 9-Cameron Smith (c), 17-Felise Kaufusi, 11-Kevin Proctor, 12-Tohu Harris, 13-Dale Finucane

Interchange: 10-Tim Glasby, 14-Ryan Hinchcliffe, 15-Kenny Bromwich, 18-Nelson Asofa-Solomona

NRL Flashback: Three memorable NZ Warriors v Storm games in Auckland