A late Melbourne surge was enough for them to escape with the two competition points following a highly entertaining contest at AAMI Park in Round 7 this year, but not before their trans-Tasman rivals gave them a huge scare.
Riding on the back of a 14-game winning streak that began in Round 22 last year, the Storm were expected to easily account for the battling Warriors but they were slow out of the blocks as Ben Henry opened the scoring for the visitors from a Shaun Johnson bomb after seven minutes.
Melbourne soon clicked into gear with two quick tries – the first a stunning long-range run from centre Will Chambers and the second a swift backline move that saw Mahe Fonua score untouched in the left corner.
But the Warriors locked it up at 10-all at the break following a wonderful pass from Johnson to Bill Tupou and it was Johnson that sparked his side in the second half too with an 80-metre intercept to give the Warriors a 16-10 lead after 52 minutes.
It was Cooper Cronk’s turn to show off his skills next – the Storm playmaker skipping past a tackle before placing a pinpoint grubber behind the line that was swooped on by Sisa Waqa to level the scores again.
Then came the decision that split opinions. Deep on the attack, the Warriors opted to take a penalty goal and a two-point lead with 14 minutes remaining rather than build more pressure and they were made to pay for the conservative approach when Melbourne went the length of the field via Chambers again just moments later.
Slater then rubbed salt into the wound from a scrum to ensure the premiers came away with a 28-18 win.
The Storm ran for 1510 metres to the Warriors’ 1337 and produced 10 more hit-ups with Chambers contributing 189 metres, two line-breaks, two tries and 16 tackles.
Johnson made 159 meters and four tackle-breaks for the visitors.