Roosters too strong for Storm

The Sydney Roosters have denied Melbourne the chance to move into the National Rugby League?s top four following today?s 26-10 win over the Storm at Olympic Park.

The Roosters simply had too much polish for the Storm as poor execution and simple errors cost the home side any chance of displacing the Penrith Panthers in fourth place on the NRL ladder.

Last year?s grand finalists again proved why they are the competition frontrunners and a hat-trick to winger Chris Walker ensured the Roosters returned to the top of the points table.

Despite trailing by just six points at halftime, the Storm pushed too many passes and failed to match the Roosters? composure in the second half, as the visitors outscored Melbourne 16-6 to run away with the match.

Walker formed a lethal combination with centre Ryan Cross, the pair terrorised Melbourne?s right side defence all afternoon and scored four of the Roosters? five tries for the match.

Storm coach Craig Bellamy was happy enough with his players? commitment but couldn?t excuse their poor execution.

?Our execution let us down and didn?t give us a chance to win the game,? Bellamy lamented.

?We certainly had our chances and we didn?t take full advantage of them, our execution was poor most of the day to be quite honest.

?Our effort was great but when the Roosters put a bit of pressure on us, perhaps because we were over a try behind, we put too much pressure on ourselves with the footy.?

Melbourne stuck with the Roosters throughout the first forty minutes and after trailing 10-4 at halftime, came out of the break with renewed enthusiasm.

?We were really positive at halftime and I thought we had a great start to the second half,? Bellamy said.

?We were down on our line for five or so minutes but then all of a sudden they got a try, which sort of came from nothing, and from there we were chasing our tails and trying to catch up. They?re a hard team to run down when they get that far in front with that long to go.

?That was a big turning point in the game when they scored that try after halftime because I thought we might have been getting the upper hand there.?

Storm skipper Stephen Kearney agreed with Bellamy but also highlighted the Roosters? dominant defence, which again laid the platform for an impressive victory.

?Our execution was poor but you?ve got to take your hat off to their side, they put a lot of pressure on you through their defence,? Kearney said.

?Against a side like that you only get given a few opportunities and you?ve got to take them while they are there.?

The Storm found itself under tremendous pressure from the outset, forced to repel wave after wave of attack until the Roosters finally broke through in the sixth minute. Brad Fittler?s sharp pass was perfect for the flying Chris Flannery, the back-rower taking the Storm defence with him as he crashed over to score.

Melbourne five-eighth Scott Hill?s failed attempt to put the ball into touch from a penalty in the 23rd minute brought devastating consequences for his team.

The Roosters ran the ball wide on the next play, eventually allowing Walker to tiptoe down the sideline and score his first touchdown of the day.

But the Storm?s persistence was rewarded ten minutes out from halftime when winger Matt King steamed onto a Matt Orford cutout ball to score in the corner.

Despite making a bright start to the final term the Storm had a try disallowed in the opening minutes ? its second for the match - when Ryan Hoffman was held up in a brilliant ball-and-all tackle by Roosters fullback Anthony Minichiello.

Melbourne?s disappointment was heightened three minutes later when Cross scored following a well-weighted grubber from halfback Brett Finch. Cross bamboozled the Storm?s Matt Geyer and Billy Slater to cap off a superb match.

Melbourne did manage to hit back, however, when Cameron Smith darted through the Roosters? defence after picking up the scraps of a Kirk Reynoldson offload close to the line.

The Roosters stifled any hope of a Storm comeback though and scored three minutes later through Walker. The speedy winger completed his hat-trick by finishing off a brilliant individual chip and chase effort from Cross in the final minute of the game.

The Storm will await the outcome of referee Sean Hamstead?s decision to place David Kidwell on report in the 63rd minute for kneeing Cross.

Melbourne incurred no injuries during the match.

DETAILS STORM 10 Tries: King 1, Smith 1 Goals: Orford 1/2

ROOSTERS 26 Tries: Walker 3, Flannery 1, Cross 1 Goals: Fitzgibbon 3/6

For further information contact

James Avery: Phone (03) 9421 3222 Mobile: 0411 623 024 [email protected]