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Grand Final nostalgia - Australian Rugby league News
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globalrugbyleague - Fri, 15 Feb 2008 22:00:00 GMT
Melbourne Storm has kick started their 2008 campaign the way they left 2007, with a comprehensive 56-10 victory over the Manly Sea Eagles in their first trial match of the season at Bluetongue Stadium in Gosford.

With the game divided into three 30-minute periods, both teams fielded their second string sides in the opening stanza, with the second period chosen as the term to unleash the first choice teams on each other.

The game got off to the perfect start for the Storm with local Central Coast Storm player Jade Williams scoring in the corner from their first set of six.

Cam Smith, playing at hooker in the first period due to his unavailability at the World Club Challenge against Leeds, scored two tries in four minutes to give the Storm a 14-0 lead, the second a typical burrow from dummy half one metre from the try-line.

It was then the turn of another local product five minutes later when Alex Moore scored under the posts after halfback Liam Foran had placed a perfectly weighted grubber kick in his path.

The second period saw both teams put out their full strength teams, and the grand final replay everyone had come to see was on in earnest.

Manly drew first blood when a cross field kick from former Storm halfback Matt Orford was spilled by Steve Turner, the balling falling into the waiting arms of Anthony Watmough who fell over the line to give the Sea Eagles their first points.

A wonderful piece of kicking from Cooper Cronk, who found Turner from 30 metres with the outside of his right foot, set up Israel Folau for a try. In taking the catch in mid-air, Turner flicked the ball out to Folau who had the easy task of crossing the try-line.

Orford was having a huge influence over proceedings, and it was another pinpoint grubber kick from the little halfback that wrong-footed Billy Slater, slipping to allow Michael Roberts to gather and score under the posts.

As if taking it in turns to score tries, it was Melbourne's turn for the next four-pointer. Slater turned provider for Cronk to send the Storm in at the second break 32-10 leaders.

The third period saw both teams experiment with their line-ups, and it was the Storm who coped the best.

An inside ball from Cronk found Slater on the run, the flying fullback busting the last man's tackle to cross, and three minutes later it was Sam Tagetaese's turn to provide the inside ball for Slater with the result the same.

In the 77th minute, a dummy pass from five-eighth Russell Aitken saw him to break the line, while another dummy pass saw him send the fullback the wrong way crossing the try-line to extend the Storm's lead to 40 points.

The scoring for the Storm was complete with two minutes remaining when young centre Will Chambers crossed in the corner, the Storm totally outclassing the Sea Eagles by 46 points.

STORM 56 (Tries: Slater 2, C. Smith 2, Williams, Moore, Folau, Cronk, Aitken, Chambers; Goals: Turner 4, J. Smith 2, Foran, C. Smith) def. SEA EAGLES 10 (Tries: Watmough, Robertson; Goals: Orford) at Bluetongue Stadium - Read More, Here