Storm hang tough in Canberra
Melbourne Storm have returned to the winner’s list following the bye, notching up a gritty 20-10 victory in the nation’s capital.
A determined second half performance from the visitors helped set up victory which came without Cameron Smith and Billy Slater for much of the second half.
Dale Finucane opened the scoring thanks to a superb offload from Nelson Asofa-Solomona just five minutes into the contest.
The strong start was followed up with a Cameron Munster line break which gave Melbourne the early momentum.
After being under constant pressure during the early stages, the Raiders responded to level the scores. A weaving run from Blake Austin kept the Storm defence on their toes before Aidan Sezer found a way through under the posts.
A tight remainder of the half ensued with both sides committing errors which prevented either side from building any pressure in attack. A late penalty thanks to the quick thinking of Billy Slater helped Storm to a narrow advantage at the break when Cameron Smith slotted the goal.
An action packed start to the second half saw Craig Bellamy’s side forced to re-shuffle after captain Smith (pectoral strain) and Billy Slater (concussion) both left the field in the opening 10 minutes of the half.
Sensing a way back into the contest, the home side upped the ante before Melbourne steadied the ship thanks to a strong run down the right edge from Will Chambers.
Still trying to find a way back into the contest, the Raiders drew to within four points when Nick Cotric found the try line. However as they did all night, Storm held firm and responded when they needed with Finucane pouncing on a loose ball to bag a double.
There were some nervous moments for Storm fans late in the contest when Sezer scored his second of the night to further reduce the margin but with only five seconds left on the clock it proved merely a consolation for the Raiders.
Melbourne Storm 20
Tries: Dale Finucane 2, Will Chambers
Goals: Cameron Smith 1, Cameron Munster 1
Canberra Raiders 14
Tries: Aidan Sezer 2, Nick Cotric
Goals: Jarrad Croker