Last played: Storm v Sea Eagles
The Storm smashed the Sea Eagles 40-12 in their grand final qualifier at ANZ Stadium in September last year, the second of two victories the eventual premiers had over Manly following a 26-22 win at Brookvale Oval in Round 15.
Cooper Cronk and Billy Slater set the tone for the huge victory when they crossed for tries inside 10 minutes (the pair added another try each in the 44th and 66th minutes respectively), with Will Chambers crossing for the Storm’s third four-pointer midway through the opening 40.
However, with skipper Cameron Smith’s goal-kicking radar awry – he failed to convert even one of their three opening tries – Manly seized their chance to get back into the contest with a converted try to skipper Jamie Lyon seeing the Sea Eagles conceding just a six-point deficit at halftime.
Cronk crossed for his second try shortly after the break, with Smith converting for an 18-6 lead, which became 20-6 when Smith slotted home a penalty goal before Lyon bagged his second four-pointer in the 52nd minute and converted to bridge the gap to eight points.
Thereafter the Storm clicked into top gear, with tries to Jesse Bromwich (60th minute), Slater (66th minute) and Kevin Proctor (76th minute) completing the thumping.
The stats revealed the story, with Melbourne dominating possession with a massive 64 per cent share and completing their sets at an impressive 82 per cent to Manly’s dismal 55 per cent.
The Storm ran riot across the park, racking up 1633 metres and restricting their opponents to a non-competitive 774 metres. Missed tackles and errors were a major factor in the outcome, with Manly missing 42 tackles and fumbling the ball 17 times, while Melbourne missed just eight tackles and committed only seven errors.
Slater starred for the eventual premiers, carving out 200 metres, scoring two tries, making three line-breaks as well as two try assists and two line-break assists.
Anthony Watmough’s 81 metres were the most gained by a Manly player.