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Storm halfback Jahrome Hughes.

Player ratings for the Melbourne Storm in their preliminary final clash with Canberra Raiders.

1. Ryan Papenhuyzen: A constant threat. Silkily helped start and finish a long-range try as the Storm went on an early rampage. Then set up Justin Olam with a probing grubber meant for himself. Had a couple of big defensive moments and ran for a team-high 165 metres. 8/10

2. Suliasi Vunivalu: Incredible balance and strength to tip-toe inside the sideline and beat three Raiders to bag a sensational four-pointer. Got the better of Fijian counterpart Semi Valemei in an engaging battle. 7

3. Brenko Lee: Defensively sound, missing just one tackle all night, and carried the ball well. Wasn't overawed by the occasion at all. 6

Papenhuyzen finishes off Storm special

4. Justin Olam: Would have sent Papua New Guinea into raptures when he flew onto a Nick Cotric error to score. However, gave away a blatant offside penalty, with Canberra scoring not long afterwards, as well as missing five tackles. Solid otherwise. 6

5. Josh Addo-Carr: Showed his blinding pace to put Papenhuyzen over. Fumbled a grubber to deny himself a try and allowed opposite number Nick Cotric to score from a cross-field kick. Strong defensively and came up with an important try-saver on Jordan Rapana. 7.5

6. Cameron Munster: A steady influence. Didn't pose his customary threat running the ball – perhaps due to his dodgy knee – but chimed in nicely with some classy passing and kicking. 7

Vunivalu beats three Raiders to score

7. Jahrome Hughes: Terrific performance and best on ground. Produced three try assists, including two inside 10 minutes, and was unlucky not to have a few more. Kicking game was fantastic. Continues to evolve as a unique halfback. 9

8. Jesse Bromwich: Bullocked into a hole to bag first points and typically set the platform through the middle to help the Storm roll upfield. 7

9. Cameron Smith: A-grade service and guidance as usual. Almost always took the right option and was smart with the boot. The old legs took him 60 metres to unbelievably stop Cotric from scoring from a kick. Was given a five-minute early mark as a fairytale looms. 7.5

10. Christian Welch: Worked hard and was key in nullifying the normally explosive Raiders pack. Posted the most metres out of Melbourne's forwards with 119. 7.5

11. Felise Kaufusi: Solid without being spectacular in attack and defended stoutly on his edge, getting through 27 tackles and shutting down Canberra's threats. 6.5

12. Kenny Bromwich: Only six carries for 52 metres in a quiet display. Did his job defensively in making 28 tackles. 6 

Cameron Smith's try saver in all its glory

13. Nelson Asofa-Solomona: Only 29 minutes but made 75 metres and 15 tackles in that time. The enforcer was a big factor in keeping Canberra's big men at bay. 7


14. Brandon Smith: Things went up a gear when he was injected in the 18th minute. Routinely punched behind the markers with strong, momentum-building carries and gave his all in defence. Went off for a HIA late in the first half but returned. His lone blemish was a handling error. 7

Huge defensive play earns Storm another set

15. Tino Faasuamaleaui: Did well to keep up the intensity when he was brought on and let no one down in his 44 minutes.  6.5

17. Nicho Hynes: Didn't see any action until six minutes from full-time. A couple of nice touch-finding kicks but no chance for much else. 2

18. Dale Finucane: A workmanlike effort in game 200, churning out 42 minutes as he returned from a calf injury. Was driven back into the in-goal from the second half kick-off but landed a major blow when he scored after Vunivalu batted back a bomb. 6.5


The views in this article do not necessarily express the opinions of the NRL, ARLC, NRL clubs or state associations.

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.