Melbourne Storm 28 – Sydney Roosters 8 (Round six)
The downpour last night’s NRL marquee match-up was played in might have been a metaphor for the Melbourne Storm’s dominance over the Sydney Roosters.
While all Thursday night games promise to be real contests, this one did not live up to expectations, with the Storm tearing up the Roosters.
At fullback position Joseph Manu slotted in for Roosters captain James Tedesco, who was ruled out due to head injury protocols enforced from the previous week against the Parramatta Eels.
After 10 minutes the Roosters seized the lead. They built up constant pressure with some repeat sets and went over by way of right winger Jaxson Paulo who has been in superb form this season. Sydney’s halfback Sam Walker converted to make the score 6-0.
Not long after and the Melbourne side had come up with a reply of their own. This time it was left winger Xavier Coates who went over off the back of a great offload from middle forward Christian Welch.
A clumsy mistake from Storm halfback Jahrome Hughes gave the Roosters a penalty from right in front which allowed them to go ahead 8-6.
It seemed as though the Roosters could not finish a set
The Storm almost had their second try of the night but this was defused by Paulo who worked very hard to protect his side defensively. In the build up Roosters lock Victor Radly inflicted a late shot on Storm five-eighth Cameron Munster, which saw him spend 10 minutes in the sin-bin.
Down a man, the Roosters finally gave in on their line, allowing fullback Nick Meaney to score off an inch-perfect kick from Munster. The score was now 12-8 in favour of Melbourne.
With 10 minutes left in the first half the Sydney team leaked points again, allowing Munster to carve up the middle of the field, leaving the defenders for dead.
By half-time, the Storm were well on top, with a 90 per cent completion rate putting them up 18-8.
Wasting no time, the Melbourne side scored another try by way of Xavier Coates who went over after some appalling defence by the Roosters.
The Sydney side were in desperate need of Tedesco’s commanding defensive presence.
Only 10 minutes into the second half and the Storm had scored their second try through Coates again after a controversial kick in behind from left centre Justin Olam.
“Uncharacteristic errors” (commentator Michael Ennis) continued to pile up for the Roosters in the second half, which left them constantly defending their own try line.
A late hit from prop Lindsay Collins on Jahrome Hughes granted the Storm another penalty, making the score 28-8.
All up, it was a poor performance from the Sydney side, who completed at only 62 per cent. The whole night it seemed as though the Roosters could not finish a set and they always seemed to be on the back foot. Trent Robinson will need to go back to the drawing board before next week’s away clash against the very in-form Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks.
Conversely, the Melbourne Storm played a brilliant brand of football, mainly through spine players Hughes, Munster and the current frontrunner for the Dally M, hooker Harry Grant. With these three in the Storm’s spine, there is no telling how far coach Craig Bellamy can take this team in 2023.
Main image screenshot from NRL.