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Hey Presto, Billy's back!
Billy Slater in fine form tonight, is now the Melbourne Storm's leading try scorer, as his 2 tries helped his side to a comprehensive victory over the Gold Coast Titans by 40-12 in front of a very appreciative crowd at AAMI Park.
With two major milestones tonight, 100 games for Adam Blair, and 250 games for Preston Campbell, both sides started the match solidly.
However that was the end of any celebrations for Campbell and his Titans side.
The first try for the Storm, 7 minutes into the game, laid the foundation for what to into a grand display by the Melbourne side both on defence and attack.
An easily achieved 5 tries and a scoreline of 28-0 at the break for Melbourne, the game certainly was well out of reach for the visitors.
One pleasing aspect for the Titans side was the fact that they stayed in the game until the 80th minute, with two late tries easing the cruel blow of defeat at the hands of a very committed side.
With their 2011 record standing at 0/2 the Titans will head home, lick their wounds, and regroup, going down by 40-12.
The Storm showed many glimpses of the Melbourne sides we're used to seeing, and certainly have made a statement at AAMI Park tonight.
Melbourne Storm 40 defeated Gold Coast Titans 12
National Rugby League - Round 2 - Saturday March 19, 2011 5:30pm
Venue: AAMI Park
Referee: Ashley Klein and Adam Devcich
Video Referee: Sean Hampstead
Touch Judges: Adam Reid and Luke Phillips
Halftime: Melbourne Storm 28 Gold Coast Titans 0
Leagueunlimited.com players of the match:
3 Points - Billy Slater (2 Tries)
2 Points - Kevin Proctor
1 Point - Cooper Cronk (1 Try)
Melbourne Storm (40)
Tries: Cooper Cronk, Billy Slater (2), Cameron Smith, Anthony Quinn, Sika Manu, Justin O'Neill
Conversions: Cameron Smith (6/7)
Gold Coast Titans (12)
Tries: Luke Capewell, William Zillman
Conversions: Scott Prince (2/2)
LeagueUnlimited.com Live Commentary Preston Campbell set to celebrate his 250th game from the bench tonight as the Titans look to nail their first win of season 2011.
They start as per programme apart from Minnichiello on the bench.
The Storm bring in O'neill on the wing, Norrie and Lowrie into the starting 13.
Fine conditions, and a vocal small crowd greet the teams as they run out onto the field.
Adam Blair leads out the Storm, celebrating his 100th match tonight.
1 min: Early penalty to the Storm as the Titans kick off with a player in front.
2 min: Another penalty to the home side right on their line.
3 min: Smith kicking early in the set, has his kick snapped up by Zillman. Good defence by the Titans.
4 min: Titans get another set of six close to their line as Widdop knocks on.
6 min: The Titans looking good on attack. A cross field kick by Prince on the 5th, gathered well by O'Neill
7 min: TRY
Nice work by Cronk to get the ball down the field and chipped out to Quinn who scores out wide with his first touch of the ball.
Melbourne Storm 4-0
9 min: Preston Campbell on the field now, Mead left the field with a bad cut.
14 min: A relieving penalty sees the home side right back on attack. A very fast paced game so far.
15 min: LINE DROPOUT - Storm
17 min: Scrum Melbourne 30 metres out from their line.
18 min: TRY
The Storm launch another attack close to their line. Widdop passes a super short ball to a steaming Manu who flies over the line.
Melbourne Storm 10-0
22 min: The Titans enjoying a bit of ball however the Melbourne defence is strong.
27 min: TRY
Fast plays by the Storm, Proctor makes a good 40 metre break to set up Cronk right under the posts.
Melbourne Storm 16-0
29 min: Bird off the field and Minichiello on as a replacement.
32 min: TRY
A mistake by Toopi on the 40 metre line. Slater scoops up the ball, side steps Campbell, and scores close to the posts, untouched.
Melbourne Storm 22-0
34 min: The crowd erupts with booing as the ref rules a knock on against the home side as the Storm looked to have scored from the kick off, splitting wide open the Titans defence. The replay shows the touch judge was right.
37 min: TRY
Once again high on attack, the Storm breaks thru the Titans failing defence. Smith darts from dummy half to score.
Melbourne Storm 28-0
39 min: The Titans have a chance close to their line with back to back penalties.
40 min: HALFTIME: Only one team in it so far in the match. Storm lead 28-0 at the break.
41 min: Smith gets the 2nd half underway.
45 min: The Storm defence holding strong at the beginning of this half.
48 min: TRY
Short side play with Cronk throwing a nice dummy, Champion and O'Neill combining to get the points out wide.
Melbourne Storm 34-0
51 min: Relieving penalty for the Titans, their attack commencing 10 metres out from their line.
53 min: A high kick to the wing on the 5th tackle and Quinn somehow comes away with the ball, only to have Slater knock the ball on. Titans attack again.
54 min: Mead knocks on in goal on the Titans fifth tackle. Good scrambling defence by the Melbourne side halts the best chance the Titans have had in the game to get some points on the board.
55 min: Mead knocks on in goal on the Titans fifth tackle. Good scrambling defence by the Melbourne side halts the best chance the Titans have had in the game to get some points on the board.
62 min: See-sawing possession for now with a bit more urgency in the Titans plays.
66 min: TRY
Second try for Slater after a break by Widdop down the field, and as always Slater in support who scores under the posts. He now becomes the all time leading try scorer for the Storm.
Melbourne Storm 40-0
68 min: The Storm showing no respect for the Titans defence as they throw the ball around at will.
71 min: O'Neill receiving attention after a hard tackle on him by Bird and a couple of other Titans defenders. He'll continue in the game.
75 min: The crowd once again baying for blood as Slater ends up on the ground after running into Prince. The ref doesn't agree.
77 min: TRY
Finally the small group of Titans supporters have something to cheer about as Capewell runs a good 60 metres to score. Cronk in hot pursuit, nearly nailed him right on the line.
Melbourne Storm 40-6
80 min: A knock on for the Titans last set sums up their game.
80 min: TRY
I take it back. The Titans not giving up, has Zillman over the line right in the corner to finish the match.
Melbourne Storm 40-12
80 min: FULLTIME: A comprehensive victory to the Storm as they showed they will be a force to be reckoned with in 2011.