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Melbourne has thrashed Brisbane 40-10 at Etihad Stadium to advance to their fourth straight NRL Grand Final.
The Storm played both stylishly and efficiently to set up a titanic showdown for the title next Sunday against Parramatta. Appropriately enough, the last side, prior to the Storm, to make four straight Grand Finals was the Eels (1981-1984).
Against a Broncos side much-depleted by the absence through injury of halfback Peter Wallace, the Storm started hot and built an insurmountable lead by half-time.
It took until just about the halfway mark of the first half for them to add to the lead, but they did so in style with a sensational solo run, kick, regather, and score by Billy Slater.
The next try was crucial, but controversial. Dallas Johnson made a good, hard run close to the line, but appeared to lose the ball in trying to score. Yet video referee Paul Simpkins awarded the try to put Melbourne three scores up.
Lest anyone have any doubts about the legitimacy of their dominance, though, Melbourne capped the opening 40 with a great try in the final minute of the half. Greg Inglis, set up by a Ryan Hoffman offload, beat two defenders and then nearly somersaulted to put the ball down just inside the left-hand touchline. Cameron Smith