Melbourne have sprung into fifth position, after a comfortable 28-6 victory over the lackluster Wests Tigers in front of 7,782 fans at Campbelltown Stadium tonight.
It has been the week from hell, for the Wests Tigers. The whole Farah/Potter drama wouldn't lie dormant through the media, while they continued to lose troops including young halfback, Luke Brooks on game-day. Tigers put all that aside in the opening exchanges, as Sitaleki Akauola playing in the backline, found space and the try-line in the 8th minute.
The opening exchanges was the best it got, for the tumultuous Tigers, as Melbourne clicked into gear. Cooper Cronk, who recently made his return was in sparkling form putting a full-stop on the doubts about his fitness. The first two tries were directly relating to the Queensland halfback, who set Marika Koroibete, returning to Campbelltown, since his mid-season transfer. Once with the boot, once with a laser pass that dissected the defence.
Next it was one of Cronk's Queensland team-mates, in the third origin, Will Chambers who struck another blow to the battered carcass of the Wests Tigers. The centre was put into space from who else but Cronk? aided by a slip from Mitchell Moses, Chambers took it the rest of the way for an 18-six lead at the half-time break.
Storm scored in bunches tonight - the 50th minute brought upon a Commonwealth Games-like effort from Sisa Waqa, who just plucked the ball from the air and crashed to the turf, planting it easily after some handling errors, earlier in the game. Tonight was Cronk's world, everyone else, was just a spectator.
The big three had one more trick left for a punch-drunk Tigers outfit, looking for the full-time siren, as the space opened up from Chambers down the right, got it to his fellow Queenslander Billy Slater, who found LeagueUnlimited Man of the Match, Cooper Cronk who spied Cameron Smith looming on the inside, to put it across under the sticks.
The Storm were in cruise control after a Cooper Cronk masterclass, leading 28-six, they never gave the Tigers a sniff despite a litany of handling errors in the last 15 minutes. The win lifted the Storm into fifth position, leaping their 2012 grand final opponents Canterbury-Bankstown and firming for a tilt at the title later in the season.