Shannon Meyer reviews another big win for the Storm.
Tries: Josh Addo-Carr (5, 36, 47), Nicho Hynes (24), Dale Finucane (28), Kenny Bromwich (30), Cameron Munster (58), Brandon Smith (70).
Goals: Nicho Hynes (7, 16 – pen, 25, 32, 38, 60, 72).
Player of the Year PointsEmbed from Getty Images
3 pts – Josh Addo-Carr (Melbourne Storm)
2 pts – Nicho Hynes (Melbourne Storm)
1 pt – Cameron Munster (Melbourne Storm)
MATCH REPORTEmbed from Getty Images
First vs fifth to kick off the second post-Origin round for the season, and – for a change – with the interstate game being on a Sunday, the Origin stars were available.
After an even opening exchange of sets, Melbourne opened the scoring after five minutes with a surprise play: one kick inside their own half into an entire Roosters half of space. Having one of the fastest players in the NRL (Josh Addo-Carr) sure helps and he was first to ball and scored despite being caught just short of the line but momentum dragged him over for the first try of the night. Nicho Hynes made it 6-0.Embed from Getty Images
Addo-Carr nearly scored on the next play too when he outjumped Joseph Suaalii and put the ball down but knocked on in the challenge. Cameron Munster provided the perfect kick once again.
Melbourne extended their lead just before the 20th minute with a penalty for an illegal steal.
The Roosters were still applying plenty of pressure in attack either side of that penalty with Sam Walker looking sharp on his return to the side. The Storm even gifted the Roosters the ball after dropping it from the kick off after the penalty; they had three attempts in a row on the Storm line but remained pointless through poor handling.
Not that the Storm were without their poor handling too. It looked like it could be a low scoring affair: 8-0 after 25 minutes.
How wrong could one be?
Hynes exploded onto the scoresheet in the 24th minute when he couldn’t quite get to a bomb but timed the pick up of the bouncing ball to perfection and hit it at pace and sliced through the Roosters to run 60 metres and score. He converted his own try and at 14-0 the floodgates were about to open.Embed from Getty Images
A ridiculously silly leg pull penalty from Siosiua Taukeiaho gave the Storm a fresh set on the Roosters’ line. A set restart later and a Brandon Smith near-miss and the Storm were further in front with hard man Dale Finucane bulldozing his way over from 10 metres out, dragging three Roosters along for the ride. The missed conversion left the score 18-0 with still 10 minutes to play in the first half.
Melbourne were further in front the next set, and this time it was a similar hard man on the other side of the field as Kenny Bromwich ran the right line off a Munster pass from close to the line. Hynes slotted another conversion for a 24-0 lead.
Justin Olam came close to scoring soon after but Sualli forced the ball out close to the line. But that mattered little a minute later as the PNG International was first to a loose Roosters ball and looked up to find a free Addo-Carr who zoomed down the left wing for his second try of the night and the fourth try in 30 minutes for the Storm. It was 30-0 and still two minutes to half-time.
The Roosters dropped the ball just as the siren sounded for half-time in a good attacking position. It summed up their first half.
HALF-TIME: Sydney Roosters 0 Melbourne Storm 30Embed from Getty Images
Hynes crossed the line six minutes into the second half but the try was ruled out due to obstruction. This was after a sharp intercept from an unlikely source in Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, who then promptly had the ball stolen from him in the aftermath of being caught by Munster.
It didn’t take long for Melbourne to extend the lead anyway and it was Addo-Carr who sealed another hat trick after great lead up work from Hynes, looping behind Munster and Addo-Carr’s partner in crime Olam throwing the final drawing pass. It was 34-0 and the Storm were on track for 40 points and beyond again.
Perhaps bored by the scoreline, a scuffle broke out between players after James Tedesco took offence at an accidental head clash between kicker Walker and Christian Welch. Maybe we would get a little bit of spice to go with the one-sided score?
Josh Addo-Carr almost had himself a fourth try soon after after a break and great kick ahead from the unlikely source of Kenny Bromwich. The ball beat the Fox to the sideline but only just. Bromwich pulled off another magic play next set when he stole the ball one-on-one from the Roosters.
That steal gave the Storm a great opportunity to score and they didn’t waste it as Jahrome Hughes and Munster combined on the last tackle close to the line with a perfect grubber sitting up best for Munster. The conversion from almost in front made it 40-0 with 20 minutes left to play. It was the 10th time the Storm had passed 40 points this season.
With 19 minutes left, Roosters forward Daniel Suluka-Fifita found himself in the sin bin and on report with a late, high shoulder-heavy tackle on Munster after he passed the ball. The Roosters forward could be looking at some time off when that hits the Match Review team.
Melbourne only took advantage of the extra man just before Suluka-Fifita was due to come back on the field, with Smith continuing his rich form of try scoring. It was as easy as he likes as he was simply hanging around teammate Chris Lewis as he drove for the line on the last tackle. The ball somehow made it out and Smith was waiting and strolled over untouched.
The Roosters had a chance to get on the board in the last minutes of the game, but either poor finishing or a PNG Heat Seeking Missile on Walker ensured the Sydney side remained pointless for the evening. Walker will probably feel that Olam tackle for a few days and it will be slightly more painful than the nature of the loss to Melbourne.
For all the justified excitement of how the Penrith Panthers are going, Melbourne have arguably been even better this season and doing it with a Craig Bellamy-like lack of fuss. No Cameron Smith? No problem. No Ryan Papenhuyzen? No problem. The Storm have an answer for everything.
For the record, Melbourne have won their last three Thursday night clashes by the combined total of 136-10. Looking at the compass they have beaten the East, South, and West Sydney teams in all five clashes this season by a combined 208-38. One will have to dream about if they could have completed the full compass of victories with the North Sydney Bears missing.
One for the stats fans: it was the second consecutive 46-0 win on a Thursday night.
The nature of the loss for a fifth-placed side against first, and comparing it to top four Souths’ last efforts against the Storm and Penrith, it really highlights that there are only two genuine title contenders for 2021.
FULL-TIME:Sydney Roosters 0 Melbourne Storm 46
to be advised
Match Review Committee
Jared Waerea-Hargreaves (Roosters) – Grade 1 Contrary Conduct – Early Guilty Plea $1,900 fine, Guilty at Judiciary $2,250 fine.
Daniel Suluka-Fifita (Roosters) – Grade 1 Dangerous Contact Other – Early Guilty Plea 1 match ban, Guilty at Judiciary 1 match ban.