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 on a winning run that stretches seven matches but they did enough again at Mt Smart Stadium this afternoon.
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.
They set up another narrow triumph, having won three of their previous six games by one point.
The Warriors missed the control of injured five-eighth Blake Green while they also lacked direction for much of the second half without hooker Issac Luke, who exited with an 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-kick.
The hosts went close soon after the break through Kata, who was penalised for a double movement.
The Storm closed ranks and pulled clear through penalties to Cameron Smith in the 56th and 78th minutes before repelling a late Warriors attack.
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.
Relive 1 NEWS NOW's live updates of this afternoon's NRL match between the Warriors and Melbourne Storm at Mount Smart Stadium in Auckland.
FT: WAR 6-12 MEL
Melbourne take a hard-earned win in Auckland. Their composure, defence, and Smith's boot proved the difference in the end. By all means, not a bad day at the office for the Warriors against a top team but they just lacked that killer blow to find the line. And unlike their opposition, there were a couple of instances where the moment seemed to get to them and ruin some key chances to score or at least apply pressure. That does it for today's coverage folks. Po marie!
79min: WAR 6-12 MEL
Johnson goes high on the last and Addo-Carr gobbles it up. Storm refuse to budge even under pressure.
78min: WAR 6-12 MEL
The Warriors recover their short kickoff! Set starts 30m out.
77min: WAR 6-12 MEL
MEL TWO! Storm stretch the lead to six after Mannering is penalised for being offside. Smith steps up from 15m out right in front to slot it. Big challenge for the Warriors now.
76min: WAR 6-10 MEL
Blair gives up a penalty for a late hit on Bromwich so the Storm kick for touch. New set 25m out from the Warriors' line.
74min: WAR 6-10 MEL
Johnson finds space on the right wing and puts Beale in space on halfway. He's getting closed in on so drops the grubber through but it bounces into touch. Storm scrum on their 30m. Warriors running out of time.
72min: WAR 6-10 MEL
Both sides completing their sets but Storm are winning the territory battle. Warriors struggling to get to halfway at the moment and relying on Johnson's boot to keep the Storm deep in their half - tough task with Slater's acceleration bringing it back.
68min: WAR 6-10 MEL
Warriors make great metres through a rampant run by Maumalo and are 20m out on the fourth tackle. But Lino fumbles the ball in the ruck and loses it. Summarises a lot of the Warriors attack this arvo - lots of great foundation but lacking that last bit of execution. Storm scrum coming up.
66min: WAR 6-10 MEL
Great defence from the Warriors forces Smith into attempting a 40/20 attempt on his third tackle but he's short. Warriors scrum just outside their 20m.
64min: WAR 6-10 MEL
Melbourne back on attack after the Warriors cough up the ball early in their set. Storm are 20m out when Slater makes a run for the line. He comes up just short but as he gets up he plays the ball incorrectly. Turnover! Warriors survive and get a scrum on their 10m for their efforts.
62min: WAR 6-10 MEL
Warriors defence does enough to stop the momentum and Munster's grubber is soaked up by RTS 10m from his line.
61min: WAR 6-10 MEL
Addo-Carr puts the Storm on the front foot with a big return from Lino's kick. he goes 40m before getting taken down on halfway.
58min: WAR 6-10 MEL
Warriors come up just short on the last tackle and the Storm defence holds again. Storm start their set 2m from their line.
56min: WAR 6-10 MEL
MEL TWO! Storm push their lead out through Smith's boot right in front.
55min: WAR 6-8 MEL
WAR DROPOUT! Storm pin down RTS again and he's denied an exit. Things go worse as Johnson tries another short kick and he kicks it out on the full! That's a penalty 10m out.
53min: WAR 6-8 MEL
Luke has come off with what looks like a shoulder injury. His night could be over. Huge loss. Storm starting their set near halfway on the field.
51min: WAR 6-8 MEL
Melbourne with a big attacking chance here after the Warriors were penalised for not releasing late in the set. The new set is 20m out and it comes to Hoffman in the middle of the field and he drops it cold! Not a great trip to his old home this afternoon. Warriors scrum 15m from their line.
48min: WAR 6-8 MEL
What a play by the Warriors! They go short on the dropout and Kata smacks the ball back to RTS to recover. RTS gets it and runs for 20m. He's tackled but the Storm keep him down so it's a penalty. Johnson finds touch near halfway. What a turnaround.
47min: WAR 6-8 MEL
WAR DROPOUT! Storm go length of the field and grubber on the last. RTS is in there to stop it but he's got nowhere to go. Just shows how deadly the Storm are. 90m in 60s.
45min: WAR 6-8 MEL
WAR NO TRY! Kata is denied by the Bunker after a great linebreak on the left wing. Rolls off one tackle with 10m to go and the Storm sweep across to stop him. He's brought down but reaches out to score. Replays show he was tackled before reaching out so it's a double movement. Storm penalty and they find touch 35m up the field.
43min: WAR 6-8 MEL
Warriors with the first attacking chance of the half after the Storm give up a penalty at the ruck. New set 30m out from the Storm line coming up.
40min: WAR 6-8 MEL
Storm get us back underway in Auckland.
HT: WAR 6-8 MEL
The Warriors defence let themselves down with 30s to go after such a strong first half performance. Both sides are throwing everything at it but neither defence was budging. In true Storm fashion though, they strike on halftime and head to the sheds with the lead. The Warriors attack has looked good this afternoon - lots of movement and offloads but the Storm are a difficult team to break on their line. They'll need to find a way to counter that in the second half if they want the win. Could easily go either way. We'll be back soon for the second half.
40min: WAR 6-8 MEL
MEL TRY! Storm strike on halftime. Storm are 20m out on the last tackle and Hughes goes high to the right corner. Vunivalu soars and takes it, rolls off the tackle and reaches out with his right hand to score in the corner. Classic Storm try and a classic time to do it.
37min: WAR 6-4 MEL
MEL NO TRY! Storm opt to run on the last and Welch rumbles over the line but he's held up! Great defence by the Warriors there.
35min: WAR 6-4 MEL
Warriors attack to the right but Beale's quick ball to Fusitua is off and the winger knocks it on. Attacking chance missed and it's even worse as the Warriors are penalised moments later. Storm starting a new set on halfway.
33min: WAR 6-4 MEL
Storm are penalised for not releasing in the tackle again so the Warriors kick for touch and get a new set 30m out.
32min: WAR 6-4 MEL
Warriors defence stops Slater attackind down the right wing and bundle him into touch. Warriors scrum on their 10m.
30min: WAR 6-4 MEL
Mannering plays the ball on halfway for the last tackle and there's no one there to take it! Storm dive on the free ball and get a free set to start on halfway. Strange error there from the Warriors. Luke was nowhere in sight.
28min: WAR 6-4 MEL
Yikes. Storm attack down the left wing with numbers and it's with Slater. He looks to draw and pass but he goes for an overarm throw to the left wing and it soars sky high into touch. Rare error from the fullback there. Warriors scrum on their 20m.
27min: WAR 6-4 MEL
Warriors blow their chance as RTS passes to no one and the Storm recover it. To make matters worse, the Warriors are then penalised for playing the ball in contact. Storm find touch with the penalty and start their set on halfway.
26min: WAR 6-4 MEL
Warriors with another great attacking chance after the Storm are penalised for not releasing late in the set. Johnson finds touch and it's a new set on the Storm's 30m.
24min: WAR 6-4 MEL
Warriors get out of jail after the Storm rumble to within 10m of the line. Asofa-Solomona offloads to Scott and he's tackled quickly after. Scott looks to offload too but he loses control of the ball and it's a knock on. Warriors scrum on their 10m.
23min: WAR 6-4 MEL
Storm earn a penalty early in their set after Mannering is penalised for being offside. Smith finds touch on halfway for the Storm's new set.
21min: WAR 6-4 MEL
Storm have a strong set with some big runs in the middle of the field. 57m gained on the last tackle and it's a weak kick from Munster on the last. RTS recovers and shakes one off to make some metres. finally taken down on the Warriors' 20m.
19min: WAR 6-4 MEL
Storm turn a rough 35m set into a territory gain with a pinpoint kick by Smith finding touch. Warriors pinned down on their 10m with a scrum.
16min: WAR 6-4 MEL
Storm are let off the hook after Mannering loses the ball early in the set looking to offload. Storm scrum 10m from halfway inside their own half.
15min: WAR 6-4 MEL
MEL DROPOUT! Lino grubbers on the second tackle to catch the Storm off guard but Chambers gets back in time to recover it. He's got nowhere to go though and he's tackled in-goal.
14min: WAR 6-4 MEL
Warriors earn a penalty on halfway after Hoffman obstructs Johnson while he tries to collect the play-the-ball. Johnson finds touch with the penalty and it's another attacking chance for the Warriors - 30m from the Storm line.
12min: WAR 6-4 MEL
Another promising set from the Warriors sees them make 55m on the set. They're using width really well early in the game. Johnson goes high on the last tackle but it's a bit deep for the chasers. Slater takes it in and gets wrapped up just outside his 10m.
10min: WAR 6-4 MEL
Warriors get to halfway after kickoff and Johnson finds touch with his kick on the final tackle. Storm scrum on their 10m.
9min: WAR 6-4 MEL
WAR TRY! The Warriors strike through Beale. On the last tackle 10m out, Johnson floats one up to the right corner and Fusitua soars to take it. He's 2m short though and wrapped up so he uses a bounce-pass to offload to Beale and he dives in to score. Improvisation at its finest. Warriors back in front with a pearler from Johnson on the right sideline.
6min: WAR 0-4 MEL
It gets better for the Warriors as the Storm are penalised for not releasing early in the set. Johnson finds touch to give the Warriors a new set 30m from the Storm's line.
5min: WAR 0-4 MEL
Warriors get a chance to strike back after Hoffman cough's up the ball in contact for a knock on. Warriors scrum 10m inside their half.
4min: WAR 0-4 MEL
MEL TRY! Storm are in already after a stunning no-look pass from Hughes puts Chambers through a hole on the right. He bumps off RTS in the back field and he's in to score. Not the start the home side wanted at all.
2min: WAR 0-0 MEL
Strong start from the Storm and they get 52m in their opening set. They go high on the last but RTS is all over it and returns it just outside his 10m. Warriors respond with some good hit-ups of their own and make 49m in their set. Johnson aims for the right corner but Addo-Carr all over it. Good start from both sides.
Warriors get things underway at a sunny Mount Smart!
Bunty Afoa has been confirmed to start on the bench for the Warriors.
Afoa makes his comeback just three weeks after dislocating his elbow against Cronulla on June 29. The two players to drop off the extended bench are hooker Karl Lawton and centre Anthony Gelling.
Warriors fullback Roger Tuivasa-Sheck.
The Warriors are back in New Zealand after a mixed tripped overseas but they face a tough task in the Storm.
It doesn't get much easier with in-form standoff Blake Green scratched from the side yesterday due a rib injury sustained in last week's win over the Broncos.
Not to mention the Storm welcome back all five of their Origin players with Billy Slater, Will Chambers, Josh Addo-Carr, Cameron Munster and Felise Kaufusi all named in the starting side.
The Warriors will be looking for redemption as well after they suffered the 50-10 loss in their ANZAC Day clash earier this year.
Adam Blair warned the visitors they've changed since that result though.
"We're a different team from then, without a doubt," Blair said of the Storm humbling.
"We've moved forward in the right direction. We're playing a good style of football and hopefully we'll see a similar style to what we played against the Broncos."
The team will also be looking to give back some faith to the fans today, having lost their last three matches at home.
Warriors: 1. Roger Tuivasa-sheck 2. David Fusitua 3. Gerard Beale 4. Solomone Kata 5. Ken Maumalo 18. Mason Lino 7. Shaun Johnson 8. James Gavet 9. Issac Luke 10. Agnatius Paasi 11. Isaiah Papalii 12. Simon Mannering 13. Adam Blair
Interchange (from): 14. Jazz Tevaga 15. Chris Satae 16. Joseph Vuna 20. Karl Lawton 21. Bunty Afoa 22. Anthony Gelling
Storm: 1. Billy Slater 2. Suliasi Vunivalu 3. Will Chambers 4. Curtis Scott 5. Josh Addo-carr 6. Cameron Munster 18. Jahrome Hughes 8. Jesse Bromwich 9. Cameron Smith 10. Nelson Asofa-Solomona 11. Felise Kaufusi 12. Ryan Hoffman 13. Kenneath Bromwich
Interchange (from): 15. Tim Glasby 16. Christian Welch 17. Brandon Smith 19. Joe Stimson 20. Dale Finucane 21. Cheyse Blair
South Sydney captain Sam Burgess has been cleared by the NRL match review committee for his shot on Wests Tigers' Robbie Farah, escaping what would have been his third suspension of the season.
Burgess was put on report for a tackle which laid out former teammate Farah in Saturday's 22-6 loss to the Tigers.
However, the match review committee declined to charge Burgess, freeing him for Saturday's clash with last-placed Parramatta.
Burgess was penalised after he collected Farah around the shoulders midway through the first half of what was the Bunnies' first loss in 10 matches.
The Tigers dummy-half stayed down for several moments, prompting Burgess to volley a string of expletives at his former teammate.
The Englishman later declined to comment
Farah came out in support of Burgess, saying the incident didn't warrant a suspension.
However, the rejuvenated No.9 denied claims he stayed down in an attempt to milk a penalty.
"That was when Sam hit me in the first half," Farah said referring to his cut lip.
"He was carrying on like he didn't get me, when I was laying down. But he got me on the mouth.
"I thought he knocked out a couple of teeth there, but it's all good."
Burgess missed four games in the space of five weeks earlier in the season after being controversially suspended for two weeks for an elbow lift on Josh Morris and another two for a careless high tackle on Aidan Sezer.