Storm have recorded their fourth straight win of the season with a 26-10 triumph over the Roosters in a bruising encounter at AAMI Park.
The win maintains Melbourne’s three-game buffer inside the NRL’s top two, setting up a blockbuster clash against the third-placed Cowboys next Saturday night.
Plenty of questions were asked by Sydney throughout the contest but as it has all season, the Storm defence was able to come up with the answers.
Jesse Bromwich had 196 metres and 27 tackles in his 150th match as his teammates made sure it would be a milestone to remember for the superstar prop.
Cameron Smith put on a masterclass from dummy half, coming up with assists for two of Storm’s tries while Kevin Proctor and Dale Finucane were also tireless with 65 tackles between them.
The Roosters were given a fortuitous start inside three minutes when a deflection off a Mitchell Pearce kick fell into the hands of Blake Ferguson to score.
Unfortunately for the Roosters Ferguson played a hand in Melbourne leveling the scores 10 minutes later when he was unable to gather a Cooper Cronk high ball, setting Storm up with a golden chance they were only too happy to accept.
Cameron Smith was the creator with a grubber kick from dummy half into the path of Dale Finucane who bulldozed through in trademark fashion to ground the ball.
The Roosters came back up field to pile on the pressure but the Storm defence once again held firm. The purple wall counter punched beautifully to turn a kick into their end-goal into a 50-metre gain.
After forcing a repeat set, some telepathic play between Smith and his halfback would see Storm take the lead.
It was Smith against out of dummy half who played a no-look kick that bounced straight to Cronk who scored his 10th try of the season
With momentum flowing all the way of Melbourne they extended their lead out to eight just after the half hour mark courtesy of a Smith penalty goal.
Both teams exchanged blows without troubling the scorers for the first 25 minutes after the break however the Roosters suffered a hit to their big man stocks losing Jared Waerea-Hargreaves through injury.
That appeared to take the wind out of the visitors’ sails and as Storm pressed forward it seemed only a matter of time before the resistance was broken.
That happened in the 65th minute and it was the classic Cronk-Proctor combo that produced the goods for an unassailable 14-point lead.
From there it was a purple party and one which Tohu Harris happily joined when Blake Green sent him over with a short pass six minutes from time.
Melbourne Storm 26
Tries: Dale Finucane, Cooper Cronk, Kevin Proctor, Tohu Harris
Goals: Cameron Smith 5
Sydney Roosters 10
Tries: Blake Ferguson, Shaun Kenny-Dowall
Goals: Sio Siua Taukeiaho