The Storm showed they can leave off-field dramas aside and still bring their best when they scored a big 36 – 12 win over the Raiders at AAMI Park last Sunday arvo.
Melbourne have now strung back-to-back wins together following their victory over the second-placed Panthers last week, showing that despite being out of the competition they are still a formidable force a number of top teams must defeat to make it to September.
Now in 12th spot on the ladder, Canberra look less and less likely of making the finals after their three match winning streak came to an end on Sunday.
The Storm started their impressive seven-tries-to-two win in the 15th minute with a Dane Nielsen four-pointer converted by Cam Smith.
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Canberra looked like they would bring some strong competition when they matched the Storm with their own try by Drury Low, replacing the Green Machine’s injured star fullback Josh Dugan, in the 21st minute so the score sat 6 – 4.
But Melbourne soon extended their lead outside of the Raiders’ reach with boom young winger Justin O’Neill scoring tries either side of half time.
Six minutes before the break O’Neill got his first, converted by Smith, to push them further in front 12 – 4 then in the second half he got another one five minutes in.
In between O’Neill’s double just seconds before half time the Raiders Jarrod Croker kicked a penalty to narrow the deficit to six points.
After surging to an 18 – 6 lead, the Storm then ran in with another three unanswered tries before Canberra could score again.
Greg Inglis, Nielsen and Billy Slater scored a four-pointer each in the 51st, 59th and 67th minutes.
Jarrod Crocker scored a final try for the Raiders in the 71st minute but it did little to dent the damage the Storm had caused, Melbourne icing the cake three minutes from time with a Todd Lowrie try that only the bravest fans saw after the heaven’s opened up 10 minutes from time, so they won 36 – 12.
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