Stats That Matter – Preliminary Final
Do you need any more reasons why this city is the sporting capital of the world? When their team needed them most Melburnians answered the call by showing up in incredible numbers on Friday night. They produced not only an electric atmosphere but the second biggest Storm crowd ever at AAMI Park. The figure fell just short of the 29,315 at the 2015 Preliminary Final. Every person there wearing purple on Friday night would have had an experience they won’t soon forget. This team now has an entire city behind them as they march up to Sydney!
Another week, another Cameron Smith record. The Storm skipper became the first player in the history of the game to kick 1,000 premiership goals. Smith reached the remarkable milestone when he slotted one through the sticks in the 67th minute of the game. It is yet another record to add to the growing list he has already broken in season 2017.
Billy Slater now stands alone as the second highest try scorer in NRL history. Slater’s try in the 59th minute was the 181st of his career, moving past Steve Menzies into the No.2 spot on the NRL’s all-time try scorers tally. The superstar fullback even added another in the closing moments just for good measure. Slater now sits behind only Ken Irvine who tops the list with 212 tries.
Tohu Harris is proving to be the boom recruit of this year’s Finals series. After missing a large portion of the season due to injury, Harris has hit form right when it matters most. That showed in the team-high 41 tackles he made, nine more than any other teammate. He also had 126 metres to go along with his defensive prowess. Harris showed on Friday night just how important he is to this team at both ends of the field and with one game left in the purple jersey we have no doubt he will do everything he can to make sure it is one to remember.
Seven Grand Finals in 12 years. Regardless of whatever result may lie ahead, that is a stat to be proud of. It has been some sort of ride for Storm fans over the years and once again their boys delivered to book their place in the big dance. Butterflies may already be in the stomach but the core of this side has been here and done it before, they will look to embrace everything that falls their way in the coming week.
That number has never looked so good. Storm were up against the second best attacking team in the competition and to see a big zero next to their score at the end of the game would have given them the sweetest of satisfaction. The purple wall has stood up to every test any team has thrown at it this year, now they will need to stand tall just one, last time.