Back-to-back minor premier Melbourne Storm finished a commanding 2007 home-and-away season with a win, defeating the Gold Coast Titans 50-6 at Olympic Park in Melbourne on Sunday evening. As the Eels did, the Storm have seriously flexed their muscles a week out from finals football with a blistering Rugby League display.
The game also saw Storm centre Israel Folau build on his impressive debut year, scoring his 21st try of the season – a club record.
Melbourne ran in nine tries to the Titans’ one in a game that has no affect on next week’s start to the finals.
Melbourne finished the season with 21 wins and will face the Broncos at home on Friday after Brisbane’s devastating 68-22 loss to Parramatta on Sunday. The Titans finished the season fifth from the bottom.
The Storm wasted not time getting down to business, with Ryan Hoffman charging over in the opening minutes to put the first points on the board.
Soon after Folau easily collected a chip kick in the far corner, but unable to get the ball down, passed it back to Steve Turner who stepped over for the try. Cameron Smith booted the conversion.
Cooper Cronk put the step on to power over for his own four-pointer and with Smith kicking the conversion it was suddenly 16-0 at the 15-minute mark.
The Titans looked to rally but after a turnover Melbourne pushed the ball wide to find Anthony Quinn without a marker and he was over. Smith again added the extra two points.
The Gold Coast tightened its play but was unable to find points of its own despite coming close twice.
Right on half-time Matt King crossed for the home side after some quick play from a scrum, Smith again kicking for the conversion.
The Storm held a comfortable 28-0 lead going in the second half and early on, it looked like it would be a continuation of the one-way traffic.
In the 48th minute, Melbourne five-eighth Greg Inglis put on an impressive kick and regather effort to add the first points of the second stanza.
But soon after, the Titans added their first points for the game after a Preston Campbell kick was dived on in-goal by Mark Minichiello. Brett Delaney kicked the conversion.
From there, the Storm never looked like relinquishing any further ground. Folau scored his record-maker in the 65th minute and soon after, Mick Crocker crossed underneath the black dot.
Folau, who missed his own conversion, added the extra two points.
With only two minutes left to play, Billy Slater accelerated over the line, King booting the conversion.
NRL News will be updated regularly this week and throughout the finals, giving you all the news and insight you need. Don’t forget, later today ‘Ray Warren’ will be delivering the Grubber’s Power Rankings by Video Link-up! Stay Tuned!