A Storm point scoring blitz in the opening twenty minutes sunk an ill-disciplined and disappointing Canberra Raiders side 32-6 tonight at AAMI Park.
Canberra were out for pride. Storm were out to maintain their momentum. In the end, Canberra were scrappy and distracted by one-on-one battles while the Storm brought a fast and aggressive game, blowing the Raiders off the park in the opening quarter of the match.
The Storm picked up where the left off last week against Souths, scoring easy early tries on the back of their fast moving attack. Just 4 minutes in, Slater leapt up and batted back a high ball. Kaufusi and Croker then scrapped for the loose ball before the Storm forward came up with it, turned around and to his amazement, saw the line wide open and went in to score untouched. Smith converted.
Canberra then sent the kick restart over the sideline on the full. The Storm received a nice piggy back penalty late in the set, on the Raiders line. Jesse Bromwich surged towards the line and just managed to reach out and ground the ball on the tryline. Smith again successful with the conversion, giving the Storm a 12-0 lead after 7 minutes.
Within the next ten minutes the Storm crossed again, this time when Cronk put Harris over. As Harris was grounding the ball, Tapine threw his leg out and kicked Harris in the stomach. The referee awarded an 8 point try. Smith converted the try and then potted the ensuing penalty goal to take the Storm out to a 20-0 lead after 20 minutes.
The remainder of the first half was dogged by penalties from both sides, with a total of 10 penalties awarded in the first half.
The same ill-discipline returned in the second half by both sides, but it was the building frustration of the Raiders that took its toll on the Green Machine in the second half. Leilua in particular was involved in several flare ups and mistakes of his own.
Despite this, the Raiders managed to break their duck when Austin made a great run which put the Storm defence on the back foot. From the next play, Sezer kicked to his winger and Rapana dived, caught the ball and scored in the same fluid motion. Croker nailed the sideline conversion. However any fightback was quickly snuffed out when Vunivalu bagged a try after regathering a grubber by Chambers and stepping inside Wighton to score. Smith converted from touch. Cronk and Rapana very nearly scored tries but both were denied; Cronk was offside and Rapana bounced the ball.
Josh Addo-Carr, with eyes only the kicked ball, looked certain to score, however Leilua with eyes only for the speedster, forced him over the sideline. Addo-Carr regathered and grounded the ball but had not returned to the field in time. Melbourne though received a penalty for Leilua's actions. From the next set Tohu Harris stormed through for his second try of the night, which Smith converted to give the Storm a comfortable victory, while the Raiders ended the game in a manner that typified their season; frustrated, ill-disciplined and disappointing.