Jeff Dickinson-Fox reviews the campaign which saw Melbourne Storm crowned premiers in 2017.
4 days ago
The Storm had everything to play for today with a place in the top eight the carrot dangling agonisingly close infront of them as they battle it out with St George, Manly and Canberra for the last coveted spot in the top eight and a likely semi final showdown against the all conquering Bulldogs.
Melbourne still have a lot of work to do as they could never really skip clear of the Cowboys, who to their credit just kept on coming and if not for a few silly mistakes, the scoreline may well have been reversed as they show they are still a few class players short of becoming a competetive side on a weekly basis. They do have the uncanny ability to score points at will as they have crossed the line at ease against all comers in the last month and the injection of Paul Rauhihi and Paul Mcnicolas in the forwards may well be the answer to their problems as their backs are among the most fleet footed and skillful in the competition when they are on their game.
Todays victory keeps the Storm alive for another week as they try and play themselves back into form over the last five weeks of the regular season. Best for the Storm were Marcus Bai and Mat Orford, with the former throwng the last pass on two occassions leading to Melbourne tries while Mat Orford ran the ball and organised the team well. Raiders bound forward Matt Rua was also strong with some bustling runs and punishing defence.
Best for the Cowboys were Sing and Luck with Sing scoring two more tries to add to his already impressive season tally and Michael Luck ran strongly, causing the Storm headaches on the fringes all afternoon but in the end the lack of class forwards was the telling factor.
Cowboys 30 - Storm 40 Nth Qld Cowboys (Tries:Sing x 2, Sheppard, Bowen, Dezolt, Fien. Goals:Hannay 1/2, Bowen 2/4) Melbourne Storm (Tries:Bell x 2, Orford, Kearney, Sibbitt, Swain, Moule. Goals:Orford 6/8)