Melbourne Storm consolidated their position at the top of the NRL table with a 26-8 victory over North Queensland on Friday night.
Facing one of the toughest road trips in the competition, Storm handled the heat and talented Cowboys outfit with a professional display in Townsville.
Holding the Cowboys to one try for the evening, Craig Bellamy’s side found the answers in attack as they continued to build pressure on the North Queensland defence throughout the night.
The visitors started the match brightly with Josh Addo-Carr continuing his impressive try scoring form to open the scoring off the back of a Melbourne scrum inside the first five minutes of play.
Despite falling behind early, the Cowboys still looked enterprising in attack and didn’t take long to hit the scoreboard themselves.
A Jake Granville try helped give Paul Green’s side the lead before a penalty goal after another attacking foray extended the advantage.
Some vintage Will Chambers work on the right side allowed Melbourne to re-take the lead with Cameron Smith’s conversion pushing his side ahead with the half time break approaching.
A late first half try as Billy Slater smartly linked up with his winger Suliasi Vunivalu provided Melbourne with a bonus just before the end of the half to extend their lead.
With both sides refusing to give an inch and defending stoutly, the second half of play turned into an arm wrestle. It took over 20 minutes to break the deadlock in the second stanza and for Melbourne it was the Slater and Vunivalu combination that came to the fore once again.
Closing out the contest in typical fashion, Melbourne were clinical in the closing stages, not allowing their opponents any chance to get back into the contest thanks to some desperate defence.
Addo-Carr’s second of the evening in the final minute of play was the icing on the cake for Melbourne who finished the contest 18-point winners.
Melbourne Storm 26
Tries: Suliasi Vunivalu 2, Josh Addo-Carr 2, Will Chambers
Goals: Cameron Smith 3
North Queensland Cowboys 8
Tries: Jake Granville
Goals: Ethan Lowe 2