The Raiders gave the Storm an almighty shock at Canberra Stadium in Round 1 this year, taking control of the contest midway through the second half before a last-gasp Billy Slater try sealed a 24-19 victory for the visitors with five minutes remaining.
It looked like the Storm were set for a massive afternoon of scoring when Slater and Cooper Cronk crossed within the first seven minutes for a 12-nil lead. However, tries to Shaun Fensom and Josh McCrone evened things out, with just a Cameron Smith penalty goal separating the teams at halftime.
Melbourne grabbed an 18-12 lead 11 minutes after the break when Justin O’Neill fielded a Cronk chip kick on the right edge to touch down, before Glenn Buttriss locked up proceedings with a soft try from close range five minutes later.
When Josh Dugan piloted over a wonky field-goal that bounced off the crossbar to break the deadlock in the 73rd minute, the home fans were dreaming of an upset victory to kick off their season. That evaporated shortly after when Slater latched onto a Cronk mini-bomb besides the goalposts to secure the competition points.
The Raiders were a little unlucky in defeat – they defended stoutly, missing just 18 tackles, while the Storm missed 33. The Green Machine ploughed out almost 200 more metres across the soggy turf, making two line-breaks to Melbourne’s one. However, second-phase play kept Melbourne in the match – they promoted the ball on nine occasions to Canberra’s two.
Slater and Cronk saved the Storm, while Josh Dugan was the standout for the home side, making 21 runs for a staggering 257 metres. Shaun Fensom kicked off the year in fine style with 63 tackles.