Melbourne's attack was in fantastic form but the same couldn't be said about their defence, as they drummed up a 50-22 win over a very disappointing Tigers side at Sunshine Coast Stadium tonight.
The first half saw more than a point scored per minute. Melbourne opened the scoring in the fourth minute when Jahrome Hughes looked up and saw the Tigers winger was up in the line, so he kicked to the wing and Suliasi Vunivalu regathered and scored unopposed in the right corner. Cameron Smith converted from touch.
Four minutes later and the Storm were in again thanks to a very easy training run style play. Hughes on the left side at first receiver shaped to kick, then passes to Cameron Munster who linked with Nicho Hynes in motion, who held up a pass before drawing the defender, linked with Kenny Bromwich who put Josh Addo-Carr in for a try on the left edge. Smith converted from the left sideline.
Melbourne looked to have scored in the 13th minute, but Aloiai produced a stunning try saving tackle on Tino Fa'asuamaleaui who was falling over the line and looked certain to score. Aloiai knocked the ball out and Marshall cleaned up.
The Tigers got on the board in the 16th minute when Benji Marshall ran to the line and sent a customary no-look, flat, cut-out pass to Asu Kepaoa, who dived dramatically to score in the left corner. Adam Doueihi fails to convert from out wide.
Melbourne hit back 3 minutes later. This time they went to the left side where Hynes received a pass out the back and ran between a pair of flat footed Tigers defenders to score a soft try. Smith fails to convert from touch.
The Tigers responded in the 24th minute when Josh Aloiai stormed onto a crash ball in the middle, smashed through Jesse Bromwich and then fell over the line for a strong try near the posts. Doueihi converted.
Three minutes later and the Storm were in again, with Vunivalu bagging his second try after snatching a Hughes bomb out of the sky and falling over the line in the right corner. Smith converted from the sideline again.
After Hughes received the ball at second receiver in the middle and strolled through the middle to score in the 32nd minute, which Smith converted, the Storm had a 28-10 lead.
Luke Garner got sent to the sin bin in the 37th minute for pushing Hynes off the ball. A minute later, the Storm scored a great try against the run of play. Marshall's kick for his right side was allowed to bounce and Justin Olam claimed the ball, danced in front of Joey Leilua, before running past him and then passing to Addo-Carr who raced away, stepping Harry Grant and then getting away from a defiant effort by Doueihi, to score on the left side. Smith failed to convert.
At halftime, Melbourne lead 32-10.
The opening 11 minutes of the second half was quite unique for the game, as no points were scored. But that soon changed. In the 51st minute Marshall produced another stunning play under pressure, firing a beautiful pass that cut out two players and hit Kepaoa on the chest who then ran 15 metres to score in the left corner. Doueihi nailed the sideline conversion.
Three minutes passed before the Tigers were in again and an ominous comeback looked to be on the cards. Doueihi received the ball in the middle, with no options. So he ran between two defenders and got through them with ease to score under the posts. He quickly converted to reduce the deficit to just 10 points.
But from this point on, it was all Melbourne.
In the 58th minute Felise Kaufusi stepped back infield and made a break on the right before passing to Justin Olam who dived over to score. Smith converted.
9 minutes later, it looked like Olam was going to score, but Grant denied him with a stunning defensive effort on his own line.
A silly play by Luciano Leilua lead to another Storm try in the 71st minute. After completing a tackle but still lying on the ground, Leilua swatted at the ball after it had been played by the Storm. Cameron Smith toed the loose ball into the Tigers ingoal area, followed it through and grounded it for a try, which he also converted.
With just 4 minutes remaining in the game, Cameron Smith grubbered the ball from dummy half, into the Tigers in goal and Tino Fa'asuamaleaui followed through and grounded it on the left side. Smith added the extras to bring up the half century.