The Sydney Roosters have secured a comfortable 32-12 win over an understrength Melbourne Storm outfit in front of 16,000 fans at AAMI Park this afternoon.
Missing key players, the Storm were never expected to give a challenge to a well-stocked Roosters side which has started to click in recent weeks, and the first half certainly went that way. The Roosters led 16-0 at halftime through a trio of tries, one to Minichiello inside the first ten minutes before his effort was backed up by Mitchell Pearce, then French import Remi Casty in the minutes before halftime.
The key talking point from the first half was Jared Waerea Hargreaves' high tackle on Bryan Norrie being put on report. Frank-Paul Nuuasuala and Norrie were sent to the sin-bin following the fight that ensued.
The visitors never really seemed to get out of second gear, although a fair assessment would suggest the Melbourne side were tenacious in defence despite the omission of Billy Slater, Cooper Cronk and a host of others. The Storm would be the first to score in the 2nd half, with Mahe Fonua making the pressure toll on his opposites by crashing over on the left edge.
That try caused the Roosters to lift a gear, and just minutes later Roger Tuivasa Sheck danced into the corner post and got the ball down just inside it to push the lead back to 14 points. Sonny Bill Williams added to the damage soon after to put the result seemingly beyond doubt, although a late Storm try to Kurt Mann did worry the Roosters briefly. Minichiello bagged his brace in the final minute to end with the reigning premiers 20 points clear of their 2012 predecessors.
The Storm will have concerns over Mitch Garbutt, who limped off with a leg injury in the first half, while the Roosters will be sweating on the verdict of the Match Review Committee following the JWH incident in the first half. Melbourne's next match is on Monday-week against the Gold Coast Titans at Robina, while the Roosters head home to host Newcastle on Saturday night at Allianz Stadium.