Melbourne Storm have made it back-to-back wins after a convincing victory over Parramatta Eels at AAMI Park in Round 15.
In front of 12,635 fans, the home side had a spring in their step early and it didn’t take them long to get on the front foot through a Sisa Waqa try on the wing.
After spending much of the first 20 minutes in attack, Melbourne struck again after Ben Hampton collected a dribbling Parramatta kick, broke the line and sent Billy Slater to score.
The fullback made it a double after Mahe Fonua tapped a high ball to advantage, and with the help of Cameron Smith’s accurate boot the Storm jumped to an early 18-0 lead.
A dropped ball from Parramatta in attack looked to save Melbourne from conceding—but the Eels pushed back, earning strong metres in a set that ended with Ryan Morgan scoring on the wing.
After defending on the back foot for much of the game, the visitors managed to further reduce the deficit thanks to a pinpoint long pass from Corey Norman that caught Storm defenders off-guard and let winger Semi Radradra cross an open try-line.
Despite Parramatta’s efforts before the break it was all Melbourne at the start of the second half—after David Gower was placed on report, Slater continued to place a heavy impact on the game. The fullback threaded a grubber kick through the Eels’ defence that was found by the pace of Waqa on the wing to push the score to 24-10 after 45 minutes of play.
The visitors prevented the game getting out of hand with a Vai Toutai try, but were quickly forced to defend against a confident Storm outfit. Kurt Mann scored a quick double to take his season total to six, while Bryan Norrie joined the scorer’s list three minutes later thanks to an impressive break from Ryan Hinchcliffe.
Jarryd Hayne’s fumble over the line at fullback seemed to sum up the afternoon for the visitors, while Jordan McLean took advantage of the momentum to pile on an eighth try for the Storm.
A late consolation for Morgan saw the final score 46-20 in favour of the Storm.
Slater and Hinchcliffe gave best-on-ground performances in a result that will see their side leapfrog Parramatta to sit seventh on the live NRL ladder.
Melbourne will take on St George Illawarra for Round 16 at WIN Stadium, Monday June 30.
Melbourne Storm 46
Tries: Sisa Waqa 2, Billy Slater 2, Kurt Mann 2, Bryan Norrie, Jordan McLean
Goals: Cameron Smith 6, Ben Roberts
Parramatta Eels 16
Tries: Ryan Morgan 2, Semi Radradra, Vai Toutai
Goals: Chris Sandow 2