Tom Eisenhuth of the Storm is tackled during the round 12 NRL match between Melbourne and the Newcastle Knights. Photo: Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images

Newcastle has suffered a tough 26-16 loss to juggernauts Melbourne in round 12 action on the Sunshine Coast.

The Storm didn’t take long to hit the lead during the NRL’s Indigenous Round on Sunday afternoon, with winger Suliasi Vunivalu touching down after just four minutes.

Superstar skipper Cameron Smith added the extras to make it 6-0.

The Knights hit back in the seventh minute when powerful young centre Bradman Best bullied his way through some soft defence to crash over. Kalyn Ponga booted the conversion for a 6-all scoreline.

Despite Newcastle proving the better side over the following 20 minutes, Melbourne was next to score. Second-rower Kenny Bromwich made a 30-metre burst and found Smith, who rolled across the line.

The veteran hooker made no mistake with the conversion, nailing the extra two points.

Storm fullback Ryan Papenhuyzen then scored a contender for try of the year in the 33rd minute.

The speedster plucked a Ponga grubber kick off his boot laces, stepped past the Knights star and held off the chasing pack during a 90-metre race to the tryline.

Melbourne playmaker Cameron Munster then extended the side’s lead on the stroke of half-time, booting a penalty goal to make it 18-6 at the break.

Newcastle fullback Kalyn Ponga takes on the Storm defence. Photo: Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images

Munster added two more points in the 55th minute when Pasami Saulo was sin-binned for a tackle on the Storm’s Jahrome Hughes.

Newcastle cut the deficit to 20-12 after Aidan Guerra spun his way over the line and Ponga nailed the conversion.

It didn’t deter the Storm though, with impressive young forward Tino Fa’asuamaleaui powering his way through the Knights defence.

Newcastle would not go away as Enari Tuala posted a four-pointer in the 75th minute to make it 26-16.

However, Melbourne defended stoutly to claim its 10th win of the season, putting the Storm one point behind leaders Penrith.

The defeat leaves Newcastle in seventh position on the ladder ahead of the round 13 clash at home against Wests Tigers on Saturday 8 August.

First National Altitude
First National Altitude