Slick Storm overpower Roosters
The Melbourne Storm have jumped to the top of the table for the time being, defeating the Sydney Roosters 26-10 at AAMI Park on Saturday night.
Despite the Roosters opening the scoring, the Storm hit back strongly running in 26 consecutive points to lock up the victory.
When these two sides met back in Round 14 the Tricolours were kept scoreless, but it only took the Chooks three minutes to score this time around as Blake Ferguson broke the deadlock.
Ferguson, playing at fullback for the first time since Round 1, latched on to a Mitchell Pearce kick after it took a slight deflection off the boot of Cameron Smith, and scored under the posts.
The visitors almost doubled their advantage minutes later, but an errant pass from Mitchell Aubusson metres out from the line let the Storm off the hook.
From then on, it was all one-way traffic on the scoreboard as Melbourne drew level in the 15th minute after Dale Finucane's outstretched hand beat Daniel Tupou's to the ball to plant Cameron Smith's grubber over the line.
The Roosters impressed defensively for the opening 25 minutes, although Jared Waerea-Hargreaves was forced off in the 20th minute due to a knee injury and would not return.
All of the Roosters' hard work without the ball was then undone after some brilliance from the Storm's Origin duo.
Smith put another dangerous kick in behind the Roosters defence and this time it was back across his body, scrambling the Sydney defence and finding Cooper Cronk on his inside.
The Storm took advantage of a penalty from close range and added the two points, to lead 14-6 at half time.
Both sides came out after half-time looking to score first, and it was the Roosters who had the better chances to begin the half.
Daniel Tupou broke the line and found Boyd Cordner in space at the halfway line, although the big forward was unable to outrun Melbourne winger Suliasi Vunivalu and the Fijian mowed him down with 20 metres to spare.
The opening points of the second half would come with just 15 minutes remaining as a brilliant run from Cameron Munster put the Storm in strong attacking position, the fullback shrugging through the tackle of Dylan Napa and pushing his way past four other Roosters before being stopped just short of the line.
Only a few plays later, Cooper Cronk found Kevin Proctor with a short ball to put the Kiwi international through.
Any slim hopes of a Roosters comeback were dashed with seven minutes remaining as Blake Green found Tohu Harris who pushed his way over the line for his second try in two weeks.
Shaun Kenny-Dowall added a try in the final minute, but it was nothing more than a consolation four-pointer for the visitors.
The Storm will sit atop the Telstra Premiership ladder until the Sharks host the Knights on Sunday afternoon.
Melbourne Storm 26 (Finucane, Cronk, Proctor, Harris tries; Smith 5 goals) def Sydney Roosters 10 (Ferguson, Kenny-Dowall tries; Taukeiaho 1 goal) Half time: 14-6. Crowd: 12,604.