Storm see off Warriors, go to top of NRL

Daniel Gilhooly
Melbourne are on top of the NRL ladder after a gritty 12-6 NRL win over the Warriors in Auckland

Melbourne Storm have clambered to the top of the NRL standings after another arm-wrestle win, holding out the Warriors 12-6.

The premiers haven't always been pretty during their seven-match winning run but did enough again at Mt Smart Stadium on Sunday.

In a far cry from their 50-10 win over the Warriors on Anzac Day, Melbourne relied on defensive scrambling, slightly better control and some fortunate referee calls to join South Sydney and St George Illawarra on 13 wins.

A superior points differential puts them on top and on target to repeat their minor premiership win in 2017.

The Storm welcomed back a swag of Origin players but struggled to bust open a Warriors side who have lost four successive matches at their home ground.

First-half tries down the right edge to Will Chambers and Suliasi Vunivalu put them 8-6 up at the break and set up another narrow triumph, having won three of their previous six games by one point.

Coach Craig Bellamy was delighted with two points but declared his team well off their best attack-wise.

"It's going to take our side a little while to gel after Origin," he said.

"But I like my footy teams to be tough and gritty so we need to continue doing that and hopefully we can sharp up a little bit with our attack."

Bellamy believed there was nothing between the teams, crediting victory to superior Storm control in the final quarter.

The Warriors missed injured five-eighth Blake Green while they also lacked direction for much of the second half without hooker Issac Luke, who exited with a calf injury.

The Storm crossed at the start and finish of the first half, when halfback Jahrome Hughes exposed defensive mistakes from Warriors centre Solomone Kata.

Kata's opposite Chambers scored from the only line break of the opening spell, storming 50m off a Hughes short ball in the third minute.

Hughes' cross-kick was met by Suliasi Vunivalu on the stroke of halftime and he kept Kata at bay with a fend.

Gerard Beale scored the only Warriors try, when winger David Fusitu'a also soared to claim a cross-field kick.

The hosts went close soon after the break through Kata, who was penalised for a double movement.

Coach Stephen Kearney said Kata's failure to slide over the line exemplified their weakness on the night - a lack of execution.

"I thought there was some real courageous effort and energy out there," Kearney said.

"But it was probably one of those games you'd classify as a missed opportunity."

The Storm closed ranks and pulled clear through penalties to Cameron Smith in the 56th and 78th minutes.

It was the Warriors' sixth-straight loss to the Storm, leaving the Kiwi outfit eighth and under pressure from the in-form Wests Tigers in ninth, four points back.