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Dale Finucane (66 minutes), Jesse Bromwich (56 minutes), Tim Glasby (53 minutes) and Christian Welch (51 minutes) all put in enormous shifts when their team needed them the most. The quartet combined for sizeable metres and were the driving force behind ensuring that although Melbourne were depleted in every way during the second half, their standards and their performance never wavered. The forward pack stood tall, literally.


After the devastating injury to Ryan Hoffman on Sunday it was left to youngster Joe Stimson to step up and fill the veteran's shoes in the second row and he did so brilliantly. The 22-year-old had a team-high 36 tackles, never taking a backwards step. He also had 110 metres for good measure. It was a terrific sign not only for the future but for the rest of the season that Stimson was able to step up when the pressure was on and perform the way he did.


The win over the Eels saw Melbourne return to the top of the NRL ladder, for now anyway. The Roosters will travel to Canberra on Sunday afternoon to try and take it back but for now it is a good position for the men in purple to be in with two weeks left in the season. Craig Bellamy's side must now travel to the Gold Coast next week and host the Panthers the following, win both of those and should certain results go their way, a third successive Minor Premiership is a real possibility.


That is how many men Storm were left with on the bench in the second half - and they also played 10 minutes with 12 men on the field after Cameron Munster was sent to the sin bin. There was a fleeting moment when Tim Glasby stood on the sidelines as the sole player on the interchange but that lasted only moments before Brandon Smith (knee) joined Cameron Smith (back), Suliasi Vunivalu (hamstring) and Nelson Asofa-Solomona (ankle) in the dressing room. This was as gutsy a performance as you will see. After having their hunger questioned last week - the men in purple answered that emphatically on Friday night.

Acknowledgement of Country

Melbourne Storm respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.