Storm charge to finals with runaway win
Melbourne have wrapped up a remarkable home and away season by recording their 20th win in a 26-6 triumph over the Raiders.
Storm finished three games clear on top of the NRL ladder and will take a seven game winning streak into next week’s Qualifying Final.
Suliasi Vunivalu scored his 23rd try of the season to leave him in prime position to finish the year as the NRL’s leading try scorer for a second consecutive season.
Cameron Smith had a game-high 40 tackles as he equaled Darren Lockyer’s games record in his 355th appearance in the purple jersey.
In a replica of last week’s lightning quick start, Storm had two tries on the board inside the opening eight minutes.
The first came in strange fashion as Felise Kaufusi picked up a loose ball and with the Raiders defence napping, simply strolled the remaining 15 metres to cross the line.
Jesse Bromwich then broke his 2017 duck when he carried three opponents over the line for his first try of the season.
Melbourne kept the foot on the throttle and Tohu Harris added to the score line when he broke through the Raiders line in the 19th minute.
After surrendering 60 per cent of possession in the opening 20 minutes the Raiders finally began to gain control of the football but they could not trouble the scorers as Storm headed into half-time with a 20-nil lead.
Despite having little to play for but pride, Canberra emerged from the break with renewed vigour and received their reward just short of the hour mark when Jordan Rapana latched on to a chip kick.
Suliasi Vunivalu refused to be outshone by his opposing winger and responded just four minutes later when he turned on the speed to grasp a Will Chambers grubber to score his 23rd of the season and move to the top of the NRL try scorers list.
Tohu Harris then secured his double in the second half to wrap up the win and an outstanding 26 weeks for the boys from Melbourne.
Melbourne Storm 32
Tries: Tohu Harris, Felise Kaufusi, Jesse Bromwich, Suliasi Vunivalu
Goals: Cameron Smith 6
Canberra Raiders 6
Tries: Jordan Rapana
Goals: Jarod Croker