Storm party as Manly de­mol­ished

The Press - - Entertainment -

Mel­bourne love a mile­stone al­most as much as they love Cameron Smith so they were never go­ing to lose a game that in­volved both.

The Storm cel­e­brated their skip­per’s 350th NRL game with a crush­ing 40-6 win over Manly at Mel­bourne’s AAMI Park on Sun­day.

Smith joined Can­ter­bury great Terry Lamb on the mark and now has Dar­ren Lock­yer’s record of 355 in sight by sea­son’s end.

The vic­tory reaf­firmed Mel­bourne’s sta­tus as rag­ing ti­tle favourites, while the Sea Ea­gles cling to sev­enth spot.

In typ­i­cal Smith fash­ion, the 34-year-old didn’t sit back and bask in the glory but topped his team’s tackle count and had four try as­sists from their haul of seven, de­spite tak­ing a pec­toral in­jury into the game.

The Storm were a lit­tle sloppy early on with Nel­son Aso­faSolomona giv­ing away a penalty for a tip tackle on for­mer Mel­bourne play­maker Blake Green.

While Asofa-Solomona es­caped re­port, Manly’s Ad­din Fonu-Blake was later put for a high tackle that caught the jaw of Storm half­back Cooper Cronk.

Ex­cit­ing Mel­bourne rookie Jahrome Hughes, who played full­back with Cameron Mun­ster re­vert­ing to five-eighth, opened the scor­ing for the home side thanks to a back­hand pass from Smith.

The Sea-Ea­gles hit back through winger Matt Wright af­ter a long cut-out pass from full­back Tom Tr­bo­je­vic, who was one of his team’s best.

But that was all the vis­i­tors had to smile about.

A Storm try in the 39th minute that saw the ball travel from side to side, and then Su­liasi Vu­ni­valu bar­rel across from dummy half, crushed the Sea Ea­gles spir­its.

That try put the winger among some elite com­pany to have scored 38 tries in his first two sea­sons, along­side South’s Alex John­ston, ex-Bal­main flyer Larry Corowa, and Dragons’ greats Reg Gas­nier and Ron Roberts.

Shortly af­ter half-time hard­work­ing sec­ond-rower Joe Stim­son ran on to a Smith ball and with the lead out to 18-6 Mel­bourne never looked back. Tries from Kenny Bromwich, Will Cham­bers and Cooper Cronk blew out the score be­fore Josh Ad­doCarr capped the match with a 50-me­tre dash to line on full-time.

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