The Melbourne Storm have put aside an error-riddled performance to take a 20-14 victory over the Canberra Raiders at GIO Stadium.
Miserable conditions face both sides and the conditions played a major part in the opening 40 with both sides coming up with plenty of uncharacteristic errors. The first try for the Storm came off an error when Brenko Lee was in the right position to swoop on the steeden which was knocked backwards by Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad who was looking to push it dead.
The blood pressure of both Ricky Stuart and Craig Bellamy was going through the roof as their respective sides struggled to hold the ball especially Melbourne who couldn't get past tackle 3 in three consecutive sets of six. It took the Raiders until the 22nd minute to finally make the pressure pay on the Storm when Josh Papali'i was able to score after the bunker overturned a live decision of No Try from referee Grant Atkins.
A catastrophic minute ensued for the Raiders with Josh Hodgson suffering a season ending ACL injury just seconds before Bailey Simonsson was sent to the sin bin in what has been described as a Bunker blunder with the Raiders winger ruled to have taken out JAC despite it looking like Simonsson was playing the ball.
The Storm were then able to rub salt into the wounds of the Raiders when Josh Addo-Carr was able to take advantage of the space that Simonsson would've filled to score. Cameron Smith converted from out wide to give the Melbournians a 12-6 lead. Ryan Papenhuyzen took a shot at field goal in the dying seconds to extend the lead to seven but pushed it wide.
The second half started with the Storm dominating field position but they could only manage a penalty goal in the first fifteen minutes of the half.
Up the other end of the field, the Raiders thought they'd got themselves back within a try of the Storm when Elliott Whitehead crossed for what looked to be a simple try. However, suspicious of the grounding referee Grant Atkins sent it to the bunker who knocked it back with Whitehead coming down short of the line and subsequently losing the ball.
The Storm then were able to get over the line with some individual brilliance with Ryan Papenhuyzen swooping on a George Williams grubber kick before racing back the other way for a 70m sprint to the line.
A comeback was needed for the Green Machine and they were knocked back for a second time in the match with an obstruction ruled in the lead up to an effort from Bailey Simonsson before it was Nick Cotric who was able to get through down the left-hand side for the Raiders.
In the dying seconds of the match, the Raiders gave themselves a fleeting hope of a miraculous comeback when Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad scored in with just 40 seconds remaining on the clock but it wasn't to be for the Raiders.
Next weekend, The Raiders head to Sydney for a grand final rematch against the Sydney Roosters at the SCG whilst the Melbourne Storm play their first home game at the Sunshine Coast Stadium up against the Gold Coast Titans.