The Melbourne Storm have held the Parramatta Eels scoreless in their NRL semi-final with a clinical performance at AAMI Park in Melbourne on Saturday evening.
It was a superb performance from the Storm, particularly during the first half, with the game virtually over half an hour in.
After than opening 30 minutes, the Storm had 75 per cent of possession, and that was still up at around 65 per cent at the halftime interval, as they completed 19 of 20 sets during the first half.
The halftime score read 22-0, but it could have been upwards of 30 if Cameron Smith had of managed to kick more than one out of six in the five tries to nothing first half.
The Melbourne wingers got things underway for the Storm, with Josh Addo-Carr and Suliasi Vunivalu making a good start, before Cameron Munster and Jahrome Hughes scores.
Addo-Carr added a second try towards the end of the first half as things got away from the Eels, who were never coming back from that far behind.
The big talking point will be a Cameron Smith sin bin though, after he lashed out at Reed Mahoney with some open-palmed slaps.
His time in the sin bin didn’t impact the Storm, but it certainly will next week if he has to spend any time on the sidelines, which, frankly, he shouldn’t.
The second half got off to a more even start, but the Eels struggles holding the ball continued, with the men in blue and gold only completing 15 sets across the entire game.
They fell apart again during the second half, and while Melbourne weren’t at their clinical best which was displayed during the first 40 minutes, tries to Ryan Papenhuyzen and Nelson Asofa-Solomona at the death sealed the deal for the home side.
Their outside backs were dominant in the wet conditions, which certainly didn’t help the Parramatta side, but they simply never rocked up to play and were beaten by a much better side on the day – a side who proved exactly why they were minor premiers by six clear points at the end of the regular season.
The Storm now move on to play the Sydney Roosters in next week’s preliminary final in what will be a re-match of last year’s grand final.