Parramatta Eels: 10
Tries: Hopoate, Morgan
Goals: Sandow 1/2 conv
Melbourne Storm: 28
Tries: Slater (2 tries), Koroibete, Chambers, Finucane
Goals: Smith 4/5 conv
Billy Slater has made a strong return from injury, scoring a double for the Melbourne Storm, as they trounced the Parramatta Eels 28-10 in front of 10,505 fans at Pirtek Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
The Storm fullback was energetic and enthusiastic in his return, as the Melbourne side dominated their opponents in a particularly strong second half.
The performance from the Victorian team was clinical, with the big three of Slater, Cooper Cronk and Cameron Smith firing, while international forward Jesse Bromwich also had an impressive game.
Slater started the point scoring in the fifth minute of the game when he drifted across field with the football, before throwing a loose pass to Mahe Fonua. Fonua then ran in field where Slater stayed alive, returning the ball to the fullback as he ran inside to score. Smith converted the try for a 6-nil lead.
The Eels looked to his back four minutes later when Corey Norman made a break up the middle of the field, before passing to Chris Sandow. Sandow chipped across field for Semi Radradra, however the bounce was horrible for the Eels’ winger, with the ball travelling over the sidle line in a close call for the visitors.
Parramatta however began to turn the screws on the back of some increasing possession, and in the 18th minute of the match, they got their own try when quick hands allowed William Hopoate to force his way over the line. Sandow couldn’t convert, leaving the Eels trailing by two points.
And in the 29th minute of play the home side took the lead when Hopoate turned provider as the Eels again went to the right hand side through the hands allowing Ryan Morgan to cross and the Sandow conversion leaving the game at 10-6.
However, four minutes later the visitors hit back when Slater grabbed a double courtesy of a Kevin Proctor offload. Smith failed to land the conversion locking up the game at 10 a piece, which neither side could break before half time.
The second half however was all Melbourne, however it could have been different if not for a double movement from Sandow. Off the back of a scrum win, Melbourne’s Marika Koroibete dropped the ball in front of the line, Sandow picking it up and diving over, but only after improving his position after being tackled.
From their the Storm went the field and Koroibete made up for his initial mistake, taking a well weighted Cronk chip kick to cross untouched and give Melbourne a 16-10 lead after 44 minutes.
The visitors began to control the game and the field position superbly, and it paid further dividends in the 52nd minute when they spread the ball right, Slater wrapping around Proctor before passing to Will Chambers who slid across in the weight of the tackle.
And in the 68th minute of play, Melbourne finished the game through Dale Finucane after Radradra over ran a Cronk grubber kick, before simultaneously grounding the ball with the former bulldog forward, who claimed his first try for the Storm and a 28-10 win.