These numbers told the tale of the tape from Storm’s five point victory over Cronulla at Shark Park.
It may sound like a cliché but fast starts are crucial. Melbourne are eight from eight when scoring the first try of matches – only two of Storm’s wins have come when conceding the opening try of contests. On Thursday night it was Felise Kaufusi who shone through, setting the tone for his side in the third minute of play when he found the try line.
Melbourne’s victory extended Craig Bellamy’s side’s lead at the top of the table to four points. Heading into the all important Origin period that two-game break ahead of the pack will be crucial. With games still to be played in Round 14, Storm sit four games clear inside the top four.
Two line breaks and two crucial tries. Felise Kaufusi’s contribution to Storm’s victory on Thursday night could not be understated. Not to mention yet another tireless, 80 minute performance in the second-row. Has the second-rower played himself into Origin contention? Time will tell.
One reason. That’s all Kevin Walters needs to pick Billy Slater in his Origin squad for Game 2. The veteran fullback showed all his experience, composure and quality coming up with the game’s match winning moment to seal victory for his side providing the key assist for Kaufusi’s match winning try. Queensland has no choice but to send the great fullback back into that Maroons jersey.