2018 PREVIEW 🔍 Perennial underachievers? Our fifteenth preview is here. Andrew Ferguson assesses whe...
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Melbourne have deservedly booked the first spot in the 2017 Telstra Premiership Grand Final with a clinical 30-0 win over Brisbane at AAMI Park on Friday Night in front of over 28,000 fans.
Despite finishing in first and third place respectively, the Storm and Broncos both experienced a shaky start to Friday night's Preliminary Final.
Brisbane opened tonight's clash with plenty of energy in both defence and attack. However, despite several chances, they were unable to crack the Storm in the first half, with Tautau Moga squandering an almost certain try in the 24th minute by not passing to an unmarked Corey Oates.
Melbourne were the first to post points in the opening half courtesy of a Cameron Smith penalty goal in the 18th minute.
The Storm, however, were also no better at converting opportunities into points. For instance, in the 19th minute, Will Chambers sliced through the defence and found Suliasi Vunivalu in support, only for the winger to drop the ball with the line open.
After a pulsating yet frustrating half of viewing, the Storm finally crossed for the first try of the night after a late Curtis Scott offload saw Josh Addo-Carr speed away to score in the 39th minute. As a result, despite a plethora of chances, Brisbane trailed 8-0 at the break.
The second half opened perfectly for the Broncos when Nelson Asofa-Solomona dropped the ball off the opening hit-up. But as they had all night, Melbourne's defence stood tall and the Broncos once again failed to make the most of a mountain of possession.
From there, the Storm would confirm their spot in the Grand Final after Asofa-Solomona burst through to score next to the posts in the 64th minute. A penalty in the ensuing set saw Smith opt for the penalty goal and extend his side's lead to 22.
It began to get embarrassing for the Broncos when a lovely offload from Kaufusi saw Cooper Cronk slice through and send Slater over in the 70th minute. At that point, the scoreboard read 28-0 with seven remaining.
A late penalty goal in the 77th minute saw Melbourne hit 30 points, whilst also ensuring that they would hold Brisbane to nil in what was a clinical second half performance.
Now the Storm wait to see whether they will take on the Roosters or Cowboys in next week's decider at ANZ Stadium.
Melbourne Storm 30 - Brisbane Broncos 0
Venue: AAMI Park
Halftime Score: Melbourne Storm 8 Brisbane Broncos 0
LeagueUnlimited.com Players of the Match:
3 points - Felise Kaufusi
2 points - Cameron Smith
1 points - Cooper Cronk
MELBOURNE STORM (30)
Tries: Josh Addo-Carr, Billy Slater (2), Nelson Asofa-Solomona
Conversions: Cameron Smith (4/4)
Penalty Goals: Cameron Smith (2/2), Tohu Harris (1/1)
BRISBANE BRONCOS (0)