Storm eventually blow Raiders away 30-14

melbourne-storm-canberra-raiders-nrl-round-17-2008-anthony-quinn-try.jpgMelbourne Storm mentor Craig Bellamy was amazed as the skill level of prominent pivot Greg Inglis went up another notch, and that’s in addition to the two tries the rangy no.6 managed to score today.

Inglis took home a double for himself as the Melbourne Storm, welcomed back their army of Origin stars, warming up to eventually record a 30-14 victory against Canberra at Olympic Park.

The Raiders were gutsy in their efforts, holding strong for much of the contest and keeping a 4-4 scoreline until the 33rd minute, when Melbourne raced in three tries in seven minutes for a 16-4 halftime lead to take control of the match.

Inglis’ two tries came in the second half, after a suffered a knock to the hip which almost forced him from the field.

Bellamy said it was a testimony of the 21-year-old’s growing maturity that he backed up to play with his troublesome knee problem after Wednesday’s torrid Origin encounter.

Michael Crocker was the only Origin player missing as he recovered from concussion.

“I thought Greg went to another level today,” he said.

“He doesn’t usually back up after Origin so well and I thought he played really strong today.

“He came out of the baby stage today and matured into a first grade footy player for us.

“We’re really happy to see that and we’re really happy for him.”

The Queenslander’s first try came from the simplest of moves with Dallas Johnson peeling off the back of the scrum 10 metres from the tryline to find the five-eighth lurking.

The second, in the 52nd minute, was more spectacular and even had the usually reserved Bellamy cheering from the stands.

Hooker Cameron Smith found in-form Billy Slater who chipped the ball ahead and then chased and kicked it into the in-goal soccer style.

Canberra halfback Todd Carney appeared to have the ball covered but he didn’t count on the pace and poise of Inglis, who came from behind to pounce.

Carney, who was among the Raiders two tryscorers, said after the match he was “embarrassed”.

He won’t be the last.

Smith said it was Inglis’ defence rather than attack which impressed him the most.

“He’s matured as a player — having that exceptional game in game II (of Origin) has helped him a lot and given him a lot of confidence,” the captain said.

“He knows what’s expected of him now.

“In the past he’s strung a couple of good games together and then had weeks off and when he’s had niggling injuries he’s opted not to play.

“Now he’s a bit tougher in the head and that’s what we expect down here.”

The only downside from the Storm’s six-try display was when centre Israel Folau was placed on report for a 72nd minute tackle on Raiders lock Joe Picker, who replaced injured skipper Alan Tongue (rib cartilage).

“To me he landed on his back,” Bellamy said.

“I don’t know whether it was because his legs were in the air and that’s why the referee put it on report … but I’d be surprised if he’s got anything to worry about.”

Canberra coach Neil Henry said his side lacked the consistency to challenge Melbourne.

“We drift in and out of games and get some momentum and then get some adversity and go away from it a little bit, and they’re a good enough side to take advantage of that,” he said.

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