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Wests Tigers' NRL season is officially dead and buried, after Melbourne landed the final blow with a 26-6 victory on Saturday night.
The Tigers' hopes of finals footy were slim at best before kick-off - needing a win and a Canberra loss against the Warriors on Sunday - but they were extinguished in a lacklustre 80 minutes at Leichhardt Oval.
The Tigers were their own worst enemy all evening, turning over possession too easily at both ends of the park, allowing the second-placed Storm to make their mark.
Errors from Tigers superstar Benji Marshall in the first half lead to Melbourne forwards Sika Manu and Kevin Proctor crossing to give the visitors a 10-nil lead after just 25 minutes.
Just as frustrating for Tigers coach Tim Sheens would've been the sloppy work in attack which led to the ball being spilled in the opposition red zone, penalties not finding touch and one Chris Lawrence kick that landed in the sixth row of the crowd.
Tigers hooker and captain Robbie Farah (hand injury) was sorely missed, as was the defensive workload of the versatile Liam Fulton (wrist).
Marshall bounced back to give Tim Sheens' men some hope when he slid over for a try of his own two minutes before the break, but they were never able to get any attacking fluidity.
Many of the 10,834-strong crowd knew their fate was sealed when bench prop Bryan Norrie picked up the scraps from a Cooper Cronk bomb in the 57th minute to give the Storm first points after the break.
And they headed for the exits when second-rower Ryan Hoffman crashed over from close range less than 10 minutes later to extend the lead to 22-6.
Sisa Waqa rounded out the win when he accepted a flat pass from Cooper Cronk to score with five minutes remaining.
It wasn't all good news for Storm coach Craig Bellamy with centre Will Chambers leaving the field early in the second half with a hamstring injury that threatens to rule him out of next weekend's qualifying semi-final with South Sydney.Tigers prop Keith Galloway finished the match on the bench after suffering a broken nose in an accidental headclash with Ryan Hinchcliffe, while Adam Blair found himself on report in the first half for a high tackle on Storm prop Jaiman Lowe.
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