Melbourne Storm fullback Billy Slater

In a year where Ryan Hoffman and Billy Slater are both retiring, the veteran Melbourne Storm duo will play in another NRL grand final.

Looking to become the first team since the Brisbane Broncos to win back-to-back titles (92 and 93), the Storm now await their opponents.

In the end, steely defensive resolve and too much class got them over the line in a 22-6 win.

There will be a nervous wait and some concerns over an alleged shoulder charge from Billy Slater in stopping a try, however.

The views across social media are rampant; either you think it was a shoulder charge or you don’t.

Despite missing both Paul Gallen and Wade Graham, the Cronulla Sharks would have given themselves every chance to win heading into the match.

Unfortunately, a good start eluded them. Poor ball control and ill-discipline eventually gifted the Storm a penalty goal to go up 2-0.

Felise Kaufusi then made a half-break, found Billy Slater on the inside before halfback Brodie Croft finished the play off to score.

Slater assisted the first try and got his name on the scoresheet for the Storm’s second.

Outpacing and outgunning Matt Moylan, he made it look all too easy as the Storm went up 14-0.

Another try ensued as a rare mistake from Luke Lewis saw Slater score another try.

Moving away from marker, a gap opened up, as Cameron Smith put in a deft grubber and Slater pounced on it for his second.

Despite the Sharks scoring one try to the retiring veteran Luke Lewis, that was all she wrote.

They were unable to break down the Storm’s resolute defence after that as the Melbournites continue to celebrate at yet another grand final berth.

Despite all the talk surrounding Slater’s shoulder charge, he received support from Lewis.

“He put his body on the line,” Lewis said.

“If someone was to miss a game for something so simple as that, I don’t know what our game is coming to. It’s a contact sport.

“I don’t think there was anything in it to be honest.

“If there’s anyone I’d like to see out there grand final day it’s Billy Slater.

“Hopefully nothing comes of it.”

Sharks coach Shane Flanagan did not mince his words. The near perfect Storm side were just too good for his side.

“We were outplayed in the first half,” said Flanagan.

“We didn’t play our best and were up against a professional outfit that performed near perfection in the first half, and we weren’t good enough.”

Player of the Game:

3. Billy Slater

2. Felise Kaufusi

  1. Dale Finucane

 

By ricky

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