Storm seal premiership with ultimate show
Melbourne Storm are your 2017 Premiers!
It was a perfect night for a team that has been just that all year, as the men in purple defeated the Cowboys 24-6 to bring rugby league’s most coveted prize back home.
With the weight of expectation on their shoulders Storm produced a clinic on the biggest stage of them all, running in five scintillating tries to one.
This premiership was set up on the back of a brilliant first half that saw Melbourne race out to an 18-nil lead.
From there the defence did the rest, leaving Melbourne to get ready for one, big purple party.
It was an unfortunate start to the decider as play was halted for 10 minutes early on when Cowboys prop Shan Fensom was stretchered off the field with a knee injury.
That saw the contest nestle into an arm wrestle sooner than expected as both teams traded sets for the first 18 minutes.
In need of a game breaking play, who else better to provide it than excitement machine Josh Addo-Carr who collected a Will Chambers off-load on his own 30 metre line before carving up the Cowboys defence for an early six-point lead.
That appeared to settle Melbourne into a rhythm as they then set about asserting their dominance and scoreboard pressure on the opposition.
A genius Cameron Smith grubber kick forced a goal line drop out and just three tackles later his side had their second.
Billy Slater played a lethal cut out pass to Felise Kaufusi to send him over and the Storm faithful into absolute hysterics.
This was a Storm side playing like men possessed and with two minutes remaining in the half, Slater sliced through for Melbourne’s third and a commanding 18-point lead.
It was game on after the break though when North Queensland scored their first try in the 48th minute.
If that was meant to rattle Craig Bellamy’s men, it didn’t. They simply continued on doing the same thing that had got them to this point, play for one another.
The ultimate reward then followed as Dale Finucane latched onto a Cameron Smith pass out of dummy half to score before Curtis Scott really sent got the Storm party started when his 67th minute try gave Melbourne an unassailable 22-point lead.
Tohu Harris, who had been brilliant all game, laid the icing on the cake with a long pass to a waiting Addo-Carr to bag his double and sent the city down south well and truly into party mode.
Melbourne Storm 34
Tries: Josh Addo-Carr 2, Felise Kaufusi, Billy Slater, Dale Finucane, Curtis Scott
Goals: Cameron Smith 5
North Queensland Cowboys 6
Tries: Te Maire Martin
Goals: Ethan Lowe