The Storm's big four of Harry Grant, Cameron Munster, Jahrome Hughes and Ryan Papenhuyzen were on song in a 30-16 win over Canberra in Wagga Wagga on Saturday afternoon.
Grant and Papenhuyzen bagged first-half tries while Hughes grabbed a double and Munster set two up as the Storm made it four wins from five to start the season.
Determined to make amends for a poor showing against Manly last week, the Raiders started strongly and led 2-0 through a penalty goal to Brad Schneider in the sixth minute after Munster was pinged for a high tackle.
Melbourne hit back in the 14th minute when Grant exploded out of dummy half and powered over the top of Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad to grab the game's first try.
A sustained run of possession for the Storm led to a second try in the 20th minute when Hughes danced around a couple of Raiders defenders from close range to make it 12-2.
Storm razzle dazzle close to the line
Three minutes later the Storm machine clicked into gear again as Munster broke into the back field and found Ryan Papenhuyzen in support and the fullback raced away to grab his seventh try of the year.
Slick hands on the right hand side gave Semi Valemei some room to move and the winger powered through the attempted tackles of Papenhuyzen and Brandon Smith to get Canberra's first try in the 33rd minute.
The two Storm defenders clashed heads as they scrambled to try and stop the try and Papenhuyzen was forced from the field for a HIA but he was passed fit for the second term.
Valemei crashes over
A spilt bomb by Nicoll-Klokstad in the 49th minute handed Melbourne a golden chance to extend their lead and Justin Olam obliged by skittling three defenders on his way to the tryline and the Storm led 24-8.
Nick Cotric gave the big contingent of Raiders fans at McDonalds Park something to cheer about when he crossed with nine minutes to play to make it 24-14 but that's as close as Ricky Stuart's men would get.
Hughes iced the victory soon after when he danced his way through the defence from close range to make it 30-14 before Schneider landed a late penalty goal to make the final margin 14.
The Storm have now won their past five games against the Raiders and sit atop the ladder for the time being at least before the Panthers play the Bulldogs on Sunday.
Match: Raiders v Storm
Round 5 -
Venue: McDonalds Park, Wagga Wagga
- Storm back-rower Kenny Bromwich was placed on report early in the match for a crusher tackle on Jordan Rapana. His brother Jesse Bromwich also went on report for a crusher tackle in the second half.
- Storm prop Nelson Asofa-Solomona left the field for a HIA in the first half which he passed and went on to make 109 metres from 11 runs.
- The Raiders lost centre Matt Timoko after he copped some knees in the back and was unable to return for the second half.
- Storm fullback Ryan Papenhuyzen has piled on 54 points in his past three games.
- Raiders back-rower Elliott Whitehead left the field for a HIA in the second half but was able to return to the fray.
- Raiders fullback Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad ran for 172 metres and had three tackle breaks and a try assist in a typically committed performance.
Play of the Game
With the Raiders reeling from quickfire tries to Harry Grant and Jahrome Hughes, champion playmaker Cameron Munster put a dagger into the Green Machine when he busted the line wide open from his own side of halfway and found Ryan Papenhuyzen looming in support to make it three tries in nine minutes. Munster was in complete control in Wagga, finishing the day with two try assists, six tackle breaks and a line break.
Storm stars align to get their third
What They Said
"It's a frustrating time for us at the moment. We're just not putting any team under any pressure, we're not building pressure... I feel for the boys because I see how close we are and as I just said to them, 'you're allowed to enjoy your football'. They're not enjoying their football at the moment because they are not putting teams under pressure because we're not building pressure. There are ways to build pressure and we're not doing it." - Raiders coach Ricky Stuart
"I thought when we got to a good lead [in the first half] we started looking for the easy options instead of sticking to what worked for us in the first 25 minutes. I was probably a little bit disappointed with the second half. I know it was wet but there just seemed to be a lot of mistakes in the second half and the game was slow." - Storm coach Craig Bellamy
NRL Press Conference: Raiders v Storm - Round 5, 2022
The Raiders are back at home in Canberra to open round six against the Cowboys, who lost a heartbreaker to the Warriors. Ricky Stuart's men are two from two at GIO Stadium in 2022. A back injury to centre Matt Timoko may open the door for favourite son Jarrod Croker to play his first game of the season.
The Storm welcome the Sharks to AAMI Park for a heavyweight clash on Saturday night. Melbourne won both clashes against Cronulla in 2021... a 28-16 victory at Cbus Super Stadium in round 25 and 40-14 at AAMI Park in round eight.