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The Melbourne Storm has dazzled and stunned the St George Illawarra Dragons surviving a late fightback to secure a 34-22 at Wollongong's WIN Stadium.
The opening 40 minutes was crisp, clinical and sharp from the Storm, the absolute dominance that the Storm can show was on show right from the opening minutes with classy work from every storm player all over the park.
The opening try was a piece of brilliance from the evergreen Billy Slater who's crossfield kick was like a tracer bullet out to his winger Suliasi Vunivalu who raced onto the ball to score the first of his double.
Josh Addo-Carr then added his word into the battle of the wingers when he took advantage of space to get his first of the afternoon with a try that on an ordinary day would normally be considered pretty good. The second of Suliasi Vunivalu's first half double made the opening try look very mediocre when the Fijian flyer took off from at least 2m out from the try line and flew for the line and got the ball down and after a bunker review cleared the try, the Storm went out to 16-0.
Addo-Carr then fought back in the battle with his second with another good try when he found open space and dived for the corner to get the ball down and after another remarkable conversion from Cameron Smith from outwide the lead went to 22-0. The Dragons scored a late try when they took advantage of the Storm defending with a man down in the line and with a miss conversion the score was 22-4 at Half Time.
The Storm continued their dominance after half time with a Billy Slater double, the first came through some sheer brilliance when Billy showed the ball and took off leaving the defence questioning where to go and Slater slid through. His second was more brilliance this time Vunivalu repaying Slater for his first try when Vunivalu skated down the touchline before a one handed pass to Slater who scored his second.
Jason Nightingale got his second before the momentum change hit full swing when Cooper Cronk was sent to the sin bin by referee Matt Cecchin for a professional foul and the Dragons put tries on the board in that time including a third for Jason Nightingale and a dummy half effort for Cam McInnes. The last four pointer came in the dying minutes when Tariq Sims crossed to close the gap to just 12.
Both sides get a week off from club duties but it's no rest for the big names with the representative round coming up next weekend. When competition resumes in Round 10, the Storm have a "home" game in Brisbane as part of the double header, facing the Titans; the Dragons are hosting the Sharks on Friday night at Kogarah.
St George Illawarra Dragons 22 - Melbourne Storm 34
Venue: WIN Stadium
Halftime Score: St George Illawarra Dragons 4 Melbourne Storm 22
LeagueUnlimited.com Players of the Match:
3 points - Suliasi Vunivalu
2 points - Billy Slater
1 points - Cameron Munster
ST GEORGE ILLAWARRA DRAGONS (22)
Tries: Jason Nightingale (3), Cameron McInnes, Tariq Sims
Conversions: Josh Dugan (1/5)
MELBOURNE STORM (34)
Tries: Suliasi Vunivalu (2), Josh Addo-Carr (2), Billy Slater (2)
Conversions: Cameron Smith (5/6)