Melbourne have defeated the Sydney Roosters 20-4 in a dominant display at AAMI Park tonight to further flex their premiership credentials for 2021.
Storm hooker Harry Grant who started from the bench ignited his side in a dominant performance from the Queensland number 9, scoring a try and having a hand in two more in just his fourth game in Storm colours.
The Roosters will be disappointed with their second half performance, after a brave effort in the first period managing to hold onto a 4-0 deficit at the break despite being starved off possession. It was tough going in the second half however for the Tricolours with Trent Robinson's side desperately missing the big match experience in the halves that they have enjoyed for many seasons.
The match between two of the competition heavyweights promised to add another colourful chapter to the recent fierce rivalry between both clubs. Minutes into the match it did just that, when rookie halfback Sam Walker rolled a kick in goal for a flying Josh Morris who failed to ground the ball and in the process his elbow accidently collected Storm fullback Ryan Papenhuyzen's head. The in-form back Papenhuyzen was then sent from the field for a HIA.
With their goalkicker off the field, the Storm were offered a gift two points with the Roosters on the back foot, but Storm five-eighth Cameron Munster took the kick and missed an easy chance to take the lead.
The game then hit a flashpoint, when Roosters lock Victor Radley was sent to the Sin Bin for a high shot on Munster which had the Storm on edge with Papenhuyzen already on the sideline. Fortunately for the home side, Papenhuyzen passed his HIA and returned in time to get his side on the scoreboard first. Melbourne were then awarded a gift two points when Roosters backrower Sitili Tupouniua was penalised for holding on too long to Nelson Asofa-Solomona in the ruck.
The Tricolours were making some uncharacteristic errors and they were on the ropes as the halftime siren neared. Melbourne then doubled their lead when Radley returned to the field and gave away a penalty for an illegal strip and Papenhuyzen doubled his side's lead to 4-0 at halftime in a brutal opening stanza.
After the break, the Storm continued with the relentless wave of attack towards the Roosters line and it was Harry Grant who pulled the trigger from dummy half when he found his number seven Jahrome Hughes out the back for the Storm halfback to score the first try of the night. Papenhuyzen converted and it was 10-0 to the home side.
The Storm again charged downfield and with Grant and Brandon Smith interchanging at dummy half, Ryan Papenhuyzen then hit a great line to score next to the posts and give Melbourne a 14-point lead with 20 minutes remaining.
Harry Grant continued his outstanding cameo from the bench when the nuggety hooker crashed over from dummy half close to the line to ice the game for the Storm as they jumped out to a 20-0 lead with 10 minutes remaining following the conversion from Papenhuyzen.
Roosters winger Matt Ikuvalu then scored a consolation try off a clever kick from James Tedesco to get the Roosters on the scoreboard as the siren sounded to round out a 20-4 win for Melbourne.
Melbourne now has a long turn around until ANZAC Day where they play the Warriors back at home, while the Roosters also move focus to their own ANZAC Day traditional clash where they face St George at the Sydney Cricket Ground.