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Storm farewell Olympic Park in style
Olympic Park in Melbourne has seen its last competiton NRL match, with the home side spanking the wooden spoon-destined Roosters 38 points to 4 in front of 13,332.
The Storm began their long association with this ground with a win all the way back in round 4, 1998 with a win against Norths, and it's only fitting that they end their 11 year relationship with a win against another proud Sydney club with a long and rich history.
Welcoming back Greg Inglis into the side after two weeks off with his much publicised off-field dramas, and the Storm had all their stars back and firing on all cylinders, and just in time for snap a two game losing streak with the finals just around the corner.
The home side started the scoring early on, with Steve Turner on the end of a backline movement to dot down in the corner in just the 5th minute.
The stars combined in the 21st the Cam Smith darted out of dummy half down the blind, passed short to Cooper Cronk, who immediately passed back inside to Billy Slater, who made a clear bust before setting up Inglis on the inside to go over next to the posts.
Aiden Tolman was the next to claim a try, however was denied by video referee Steve Clark on account of a knock on. Clark was called upon again not long after to determine whether Chambers had planted the ball under heavy defensive pressure. Clark wasn't able to find conclusive evidence, so sent it back down to Jared Maxwell, who has no hesitation in awarding the try and extending the Storms lead to 18 points to nil after just 28, a scoreline they would hang onto until half time.
Shaun Kenny-Dowall drew first blood for the Roosters after the break, with an early dropped ball gifting the visitors golden field position, and an opportunity they didn't waste.
However, that was as good as it got for the Sydney-siders, with Slater backing up Adam Blair and going into top gear to get one back for the home side just minute after the Roosters scored.
Inglis had his second four minutes later when, following a scrum win after his towering bomb was unable to be taken cleanly by Sam Perrett, he made fools of the markers by more or less falling over the line from dummy half.
Tolman finally got the try he had earlier been denied when Hoffman ran across the line, before taking it on and throwing a round-the-back pass to Tolman who dove over under the posts.
Storm coach Craig Bellamy gave two of his stars, Cronk and Slater, an earlymark from the game, leaving Inglis at fullback and 5/8 Brett Finch running the show in a side stacked full of fowards, but that did little to slow the attacking prowess as Inglis made Slater proud by running a second man play in the 70th, before finding Will Chambers who in turn found Turner for his double and to complete the scoring for the night.
The Melbourne faithful may be treated to one more run around at their beloved home ground before the Storm move into their state of the art rectangular stadium next season, as they are in the box seat for a top four position and home semi-final, however should they not make the top four will still have wonderful memories of their final game at Olympic Park.
Melbourne Storm 38 def Sydney Roosters 4
Round 25 - Saturday August 29th, 2009 07:30pm Venue: Olympic Park, Melbourne Referee: Jared Maxwell & Brett Suttor
Sideline Officials: Gavin Morris & David Abood
Video Referee: Steve Clark Crowd: 13,332 Halftime: Melbourne Storm 18 Sydney Roosters 0
Melbourne Storm 38
Tries: Steve Turner (2), Greg Inglis (2), Will Chambers, Billy Slater, Aiden Tolman
Goals: Cameron Smith (5/6), Ryan Hoffman (0/1)
Sydney Roosters 4
Tries: Shaun Kenny-Dowall
Goals: Craig Fitzgibbon (0/1)
LeagueUnlimited.com Live Commentary Talk about the Storm v Roosters Round 25 clash as it happens - forum discussion - click here!
Good evening and welcome to Olympic Park for what could be the last time in an NRL Premiership match, for tonights clash between the Melbourne Storm and the Sydney Roosters. Melbourne will move into their new state of the art stadium next year, ending a ten year relationship with the 1956 Olympic Stadium that has been the home of the Storm since day dot.
In a big boost for the home side, the Storm welcome back Greg Inglis to the side after a couple of weeks off from his well publicised legal dramas.
Team changes are as such: STORM: As stated, Inglis is back in the fold. He goes straight into the centres, with Nielsen shifting out to the wing. Adam Blair will start in the second row, with Aiden Tolman going back to the bench. ROOSTERS: The Roosters have lost Setaimata Sa, with Ben Jones starting in the centres. Riley Brown and Nate Myles will start at hooker and second row respectively, with Jake Friend and Willie Mason going back to the bench, and Khaild Deeb will back his debut in jersey 19.
STORM: 1. Billy Slater 2. Steve Turner 3. Will Chambers 18. Greg Inglis 4. Dane Nielsen 6. Brett Finch 7. Cooper Cronk 8. Scott Anderson 9. Cam Smith 10. Brett White 15. Adam Blair 12. Ryan Hoffman 13. Dallas Johnson Interchange: 14. Ryan Hinchcliffe 11. Aiden Tolman 16. Ryan Tandy 17. Wairangi Koopu ROOSTERS: 1. Sam Perrett 2. Iwi Hauraki 3. Mitchell Aubusson 17. Ben Jones 5. Shaun Kenny-Dowall 6. Anthony Minichiello 7. Mitchell Pearce 8. Frank-Paul Nuuausala 16. Riley Brown 10. Shane Shackleton 11. Iosia Soliola 15. Nate Myles 13. Craig Fitzgibbon Interchange: 14. Stanley Waqa 12. Willie Mason 9. Jake Friend 19. Khaild Deeb.
0 min: And we're underway!
3 min: Inglis gets involved early, making several damaging runs before the Storm earn a repeat set through the line dropout.
4 min: PENALTY - Storm: Another repeat set coming up after the Storm get a penalty from a grapple tackle.
5 min: TRY Melbourne Storm Great work by Blair here who takes the short ball from Finch, busts the tackle then passes back to Finch who throws out to Chambers who draws and passes to Turner who dives over in the corner. Conversion attempt by Cameron Smith successful. Melbourne Storm 6-0
8 min: 40/20 - Roosters: Slater desperately races across field to stop the ball going out but is unable to. Great chance for the Roosters but then then cough it up on tackle two.
13 min: A big hit from Blair has forced Kenny-Dowall to lose the ball just metres out from his own line. Big pressure coming up for the visitors.
16 min: Pears puts up a bomb and absolute no-one contests it, with the Storm eventually knocking it forward off the bounce. Roosters with a set ten out from the Storm line.
19 min: Brown forgets what the tackle count it and runs it on the last, relieving all pressure on the Storm, who then get a penalty to help them out of their end.
21 min: TRY Melbourne Storm A classic inside ball from Cronk has allowed Slater to bust through and setup Inglis to score under the posts in his return game. Conversion attempt by Cameron Smith successful. Melbourne Storm 12-0
24 min: Another piggy-back penalty and the Storm setup their attack on the Roosters 40.
26 min: VIDEO REF - Possible Storm Try... Tolman may have scored here, just checking to see whether he picked up the ball cleanly or has knocked the ball on.
26 min: NO TRY - Scrum Roosters Tolman does indeed knock on and the Roosters will get the loose head and feed.
28 min: VIDEO REF - Possible Storm Try... Now Chambers is claming a try, just checking to see whether he got the ball down.
28 min: TRY Melbourne Storm Steve Clark sends it back down to the on-field refs and Maxwell points to the spot. From the play-the-ball, Johnson passes out to Smith who passes out to Chambers who then cuts back on the angle, catching the outside defenders flatfooted, and barges his way over for the try. Conversion attempt by Cameron Smith successful. Melbourne Storm 18-0
30 min: Great take by Hauraki, who bats Cronks kick out of the air and down into his arms, saving any chance of a 40/20 by the Storm.
31 min: The Roosters leave the ball behind them, and Cronk puts boot to ball and engages in a footrace against Perrett, a race he easily loses.
35 min: Hauraki gives away the penalty in possession after he continues playing after being called held.
36 min: Finch runs to the line and threads the ball through, Kenny-Dowall not taking any chances and knocks the ball dead. Fresh set of six coming up for the Storm.
37 min: PENALTY - Roosters: Slater kicks through for himself and claims the try but is pulled back for obstruction against Chambers
40 min: Mason loses the ball in trying to pass it quickly, and we're all done and dusted for the first half.
HALF TIME It's half time here at Olympic Park and the Storm are in total control of this one, going into the break leading the Roosters 18 points to nil and looking to send off their home ground in style.
40 min: And we're back underway!
41 min: A simple dropped ball in the play-the-ball has given the Roosters the first scoring opportunity of the second half.
42 min: TRY Sydney Roosters The Roosters capitalise on the Storms uncharacteristic mistake, with Kenny-Dowall crossing in the corner. Conversion attempt by Craig Fitzgibbon unsuccessful. Melbourne Storm 18-4
46 min: TRY Melbourne Storm The Storm strike straight back through Slater who supports Blairs half bust before showing Perrett a clean set of heels on his way to the line. Conversion attempt by Cameron Smith unsuccessful. Melbourne Storm 22-4
49 min: Inglis puts up a monster bomb, which Perrett is unable to take. Melbourne with a set ten out from the line.
50 min: TRY Melbourne Storm All too easy for Inglis, who catches the markers napping when he darts out of dummy half from two out and dives over without a finger being laid on him. Conversion attempt by Cameron Smith successful. Melbourne Storm 28-4
57 min: Mason is on the sidelines with what looks to be a possible knee or leg problem.
60 min: TRY Melbourne Storm The Roosters simply have no answers as Hoffman runs across the line before taking on the line and offloading back to Tolman in support who dives over under the posts. Conversion attempt by Cameron Smith successful. Melbourne Storm 34-4
62 min: A terrible call by the refs on the restart, as they rule the restart has gone out on the full, where replays show Slater caught it well in the in-goal...and there was a referee watching the whole play!
63 min: Kenny-Dowall tries to force the pass close to the Storm line but the ball is simply dived upon by the Storm defence.
65 min: Melbourne coach Bellamy has given both Cronk and Slater an earlymark from the game
70 min: TRY Melbourne Storm With Slater off the field, Inglis has reverted back to fullback and makes an immediate impact there, running a perfect second man play before offloading to Chambers, who takes it to the line and fires the ball out to Turner who crosses for his second. Hoffman, in game 150, takes the shot but is waved away. Conversion attempt by Ryan Hoffman unsuccessful. Melbourne Storm 38-4
75 min: A great chip to the corner by Pearce is reeled in by Minichiello on the run and thrown back inside, but misses all his support runners and Nielson finds himself with it for the Storm.
79 min: Off a scrum win on halfway, Finch immediately kicks ahead and Inglis chases through, chasing the hat trick, but is unable to gather up the ball on the run, ending the game in a not-so spectacular fashion.
FULL TIME It's full time here and the Melbourne Storm have run out convincing winners over the Roosters, 38 points to 4.