Some interesting numbers to come out of Saturday’s win over Manly.
After his late withdrawal last week, the return of Jesse Bromwich saw the Kiwi enforcer finish with a team-high 154 metres. With Bromwich leading the pack once again, Melbourne looked very much assured when going forward which equated some sensational attack in the first half. Saturday showed why this big man is the best in the game, no questions asked.
With a completion rate like this, that is more like the Storm we know and love! All the talk in the aftermath of last week’s loss was around Melbourne’s inability to hold onto the football. However this team bounced back emphatically in Round 7 to finish with their highest completion rate of the season. 15 errors last week were reduced back to just five on Saturday. This win was a set up in the first 18 minutes, when Storm piled on 18 points without committing a single error.
The purple wall has been almost unbreakable but there is still work ahead after conceding their most points of the season so far. Melbourne went into the game averaging less than 10 points against however the NRL’s No.1 defence was put under significant pressure. The attacking side was in full force this weekend, now the challenge will be to get both sides of Storm’s game firing at the same time.
Saturday saw Melbourne produce their best first half in three seasons. Not since Round 23, 2014 has Storm ran in six tries in the opening 40 minutes. Clearly Craig Bellamy and his troops knew where to attack, focusing all their attention on Manly’s left edge. It paid dividends, taking that route successfully for all six of their efforts. Felise Kaufusi and Young Tonumaipea crossed for their first tries of the season, with Kaufusi coming up with a crucial double in the space of just four minutes before the break.
You know Billy Slater is back to his best when he his showcasing his creative genius. Three first half try assists saw Slater show off his vision, class and supreme skill. It can seem at times like he is playing a different game to everyone else. If that is the Billy we are seeing four games into his return, there is plenty to look forward to from our No.1 at the business end of the year.