Melbourne Storm 28
Tries: Proctor, McLean, Koroibete, Fonua 2, Waqa
Goals: Smith 2/6
Canberra Raiders 14
Tries: Sauiluma, Milford, Crocker
Goals: Crocker 1/2, Campese 0/1
Melbourne Storm returned to the top eight with a straight forward 28-14 victory over Canberra Raiders on Saturday night as the race for the finals is underway.
There was relief for Melbourne as they went into this one on the back of back-to-back defeats and faced a resurgent Canberra Raiders however; the visitors were never up to the task of defeating the home side.
Mahe Fonua grabbed a double and there was a first try for rookie winger Marika Koroibete as he impressed again out wide.
Canberra will need a miracle run to make the top eight now as their season looks dead and buried with only the battle to avoid the wooden spoon on their minds for the remainder of the season.
Kevin Proctor opened the scoring in this encounter when a wayward Cameron Smith pass eventually found its way to Proctor after a scramble and he was left with an inviting hole in the Raiders defence which led him to the try line.
Melbourne were in again inside the first ten minutes when Jordan Mclean brushed his way past some very poor Raiders defence on their own line before touching down to make it 10-0.
The Raiders finally got themselves into the game and replied ten minutes later when David Shillington found a way to offload whilst under supervision of two Storm defenders before a brilliant cut out ball from Campese gave Sauiluma a walk in try.
Canberra’s evening was summed up from the resulting kick off though when Anthony Milford knocked on giving the Storm a great chance to hit straight back. They took that chance when Mahe Fonua produced a clever pass to his winger Marika Koroibete who came up with a smart finish in the corner.
Milford made up for his error on the half hour mark when the ball was shipped wide to the Raiders star man and he dummied before effortlessly gliding through the defence in front of him to make it 14-10 at the break.
The next score was going to be a crucial one in this game as it hung in the balance and it was Melbourne who extended their lead thanks to Mahe Fonua’s strength close to the line. He came back inside on a drop off to burst through the line and shrug off Milford before grounding the ball.
Sisa Waqa’s long range effort all but ended the Raiders’ chances in the game when he raced down the wing from a scum, leaving the chasing Canberra defenders in his wake.
Mahe Fonua’s second put the game to bed as he combined with his winger to score. Koroibete broke down the wing and showed unbelievable strength to stay in play before Fonua took the ball from his grasp and spun around over the try line.
There was still time for a consolation try for the Raiders as Jarrod Crocker plucked an interception on his own line and then showed great speed to race the length of the field.
It was too little too late though as Melbourne got their top eight aspirations back on track with an impressive 28-14.