The Storm weren’t hurt by the absence of several Origin stars and polished off a rudderless Sydney Roosters 26-2 in their round 10 NRL encounter at Olympic Park tonight.
Melbourne took a while to get on the scoreboard, perhaps shrugging off the effects of having just played on Monday, before powering away from the competition’s strugglers – the Roosters.
A Craig Fitzgibbon penalty late in the first half was all the Roosters could produce all night – as the Storm proceeded to run in five unanswered tries for their ninth win in 2007.
Origin-less second rower Ryan Hoffman got his team on their way, running on to a Cooper Cronk short ball on a second-man play and finding his way to the line untouched.
Wing sensation Israel Folau then continued his outstanding debut season in the top grade when he forced his way over for his 11th try right on half-time. This guy isn’t built heavy, but has amazing leg drive and his ability to beat several defenders rivals that of Adam McDougall back in the late 90’s.
Recently promoted James Aubusson, deputising at hooker for Queensland rake Cameron Smith, nabbed a 40-20 early in the second half which brought a try for Jeff Lima from the following set of 6.
Debutant centre Will Chambers strutted his stuff and stepped his way through some hapless Roosters defence to score in the 71st minute and electric full-back Billy Slater completed the scoring five minutes later.
There was no lack of effort from the Roosters but they simply could not find a way through the Storm defensive wall, especially without five-eighth Braith Anasta.
The visitors were forced to perform almost 80 extra tackles, with Fitzgibbon and Danny Nutley leading the way with 43 apiece.
Melbourne 26 (R Hoffman, I Folau, J Lima, W Chambers, B Slater tries; S Turner 3 conversions)
Sydney Roosters 2 (C Fitzgibbon 1 penalty goal).