Storm claim NRL title


SYDNEY: A formidable performance from one of the most dominant club sides of the NRL era culminated in a deserved 34-6 Grand Final win for Melbourne on the back of starring roles from big-game players Cameron Smith, Billy Slater and Cooper Cronk.
The North Queensland Cowboys battled bravely right to the end were barely in the contest right from the outset against a Storm side that were clinical and relentless from the opening whistle in Cronk’s final game in purple.
It is fitting that the final club game from that trio saw all three bring their best to the game’s biggest stage, scoring or helping create four tries. They got plenty of assistance from their dominant forward pack and some moment of brilliance from exciting young stars like Josh Addo-Carr.
The score-line reflected the sheer dominance of Melbourne’s performances right from Round 1 this year but did not fairly reflect the effort the Cowboys put into a contest.
The match started in horrific fashion for the Cowboys with play held up for several minutes while prop Shaun Fensom received medical attention and was taken from the field after just four minutes.
Attempting to stop a charging Jesse Bromwich along with teammate Ethan Lowe, the latter landed awkwardly on Fensom’s ankle. He immediately signalled for the trainer and there was a delay of several minutes while Fensom was administered pain relief and loaded onto a medicab.
While North Queensland managed to weather the storm for the opening 20 minutes the favourites started to flex their muscle from midway through the half.
First Will Chambers received a Cowboys bat-back from an attacking bomb near Melbourne’s end and offloaded to a breakaway Josh Addo-Carr who streaked 70 metres to open the scoring. Tries to Felise Kaufusi, Billy Slater made it 18-0 at the break.
Cowboys’ Te Maire Martin scored for his side early in the second half but the Storm never looked like relinquishing the lead and added three more tries to Addo-Carr, lock Dale Finucane and centre Curtis Scott to complete an emphatic grand final win.
Melbourne Storm 34 (Josh Addo-Carr 2, Felise Kaufusi, Billy Slater, Dale Finucane, Curtis Scott tries; Cameron Smith 5 con) North Qld Cowboys 6 (Te Maire Martin try; Ethan Lowe con). –

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