The Melbourne Storm proved ungracious guests in their visit to the nation's capital to take on the Canberra Raiders, where they put on a dominant display, refusing to concede a point taking the game 26-0.
Melbourne came into the game with several changes, but that did not stop them from coming together as a team to outclass the Raiders and control the game. Melbourne took control of the game from the early stages. They similarly took a lead very early with Cronk putting Blair into a hole to get the ball onto Duffie to score in the forth minute.
Canberra had plenty of opportunities to hit back but the Melbourne defence was far too good andwould not give anything away. The attack and defence wore out the Canberra side before Melbourne took an opportunity to extend their lead before half time with Smith from Dummy half putting Hinchcliffe into score, Smith added the extras and Melbourne took their ten nil lead to the interval.
Canberra started the second half aggressively, but were unable to offer enough to crack the Melbourne defence. Melbourne needed only to put their foot on the accelerator to increase their lead and did so in the 50th minute after Duffie helped Slater into a hole to find Cronk in support to score.
Some ill discipline from both sides crept into the game, offering Canberra some fantastic field position and opportunities to attack. These Canberra opportunities worked to showcase the superb Melbourne defence as they refused to concede a point. Melbourne on the other hand took their opportunities after a penalty put them in good position, Slater helped Duffie showcase his acrobatic skills to score in the corner in the 65th minute.
Despite having done enough to win the game Melbourne continued to show why they are number one, giving nothing away and continuing to belt the Raiders with defence and carve up with their forwards. They had some more showing off to do and put on one last try with a Harlem Globetrotter-like team effort to put Bromwich in to score in the corner.
Once the game was all but over Melbourne still would not let go, keeping Canberra scoreless for the full 80 to take the game 26 nil.
Canberra Raiders 0 were defeated by Melbourne Storm 26
National Rugby League - Round 19 (Rivalry Round) - Sunday July 17, 2011 2:00pm
Venue: Canberra Stadium
Referee: Matt Cecchin and Adam Devcich
Video Referee: Chris Ward
Touch Judges: Luke Potter and Adam Gee
Halftime: Canberra Raiders 0 Melbourne Storm 10
Leagueunlimited.com players of the match:
3 Points - Kevin Proctor
2 Points - Matt Duffie (2 Tries)
1 Point - Billy Slater
CANBERRA RAIDERS (0)
MELBOURNE STORM (26)
Tries: Cooper Cronk, Ryan Hinchcliffe, Matt Duffie (2), Jesse Bromwich
Conversions: Cameron Smith (3/4), Gareth Widdop (0/1)
LeagueUnlimited.com Live Commentary Rivalry Round continues here at Canberra Stadium where the Canberra Raiders take on the competition leading Melbourne Storm. The Toyota Cup curtain-raiser was taken out by the Melbourne Thunderbolts, defeating the Canberra Under 20s side 32 points to 10.
TEAM NEWS: Croker is out for the Raiders, which will cause a bit of a reshuffle with Galea moving into the centres, and Picker coming into starting back row. Miller comes onto the bench. For the Storm Waqa is out, with O'Neill coming in to replace him, Lowe is also out with Lowrie coming in to, Blair will start at Prop, with Norrie starting from the bench, where he will be joined by Cameron Smith with Hinchcliffe at starting hooker.
1 min: Game on.
2 min: Knock on Raiders and Melbourne have it 9 short of half way.
4 min: TRY
TRY to the Storm! Cronk puts Blair into a gap and he gets it onto Duffie to put on the first points of the match. Conversion attempt from Widdop unsuccessful.
Melbourne Storm 4-0
6 min: Melbourne Storm well on top here, with control over all aspects of the game.
7 min: Canberra fail to complete their second set of the match.
9 min: Canberra complete a set and get to their kick for the first time in the match.
12 min: Canberra starting to look much better with ball in hand and now Melbourne make an error and Canberra have a scrum 40 out from the Melbourne line.
13 min: PENALTY to the Raiders who will now get right on the attack.
14 min: Another PENALTY to the Raiders, this 5 out from the Melbourne line.
14 min: Superb defence from Melbourne continuing to hold the Raiders out, will have to keep defending though as Canberra force a goal line drop out.
15 min: A Canberra mix up results in a cheap turnover.
16 min: Cooper Cronk boot too deep and Canberra will get a 20 metre restart.
18 min: Possession has helped Canberra have a look in this game, but the Melbourne defence won't give in.
20 min: Melbourne get a 20 metre tap as Cameron Smith comes onto the field.
21 min: Canberra hands play at the ball and Melbourne get 6 again heading into the Canberra half.
22 min: Dugan forces the ball dead and Melbourne will get a repeat set courtesy of a goal line drop out.
23 min: Courageous defensive effort from the Raiders, in the end though Smith denies Melbourne with a boot that goes sailing over O'Neill's head as well as the sideline for a Canberra scrum.
25 min: Canberra starting to attack strongly with a break but a boot out on the full gives Melbourne a scrum 30 out from their own line.
26 min: Melbourne kicking game has been uncharacteristically off this afternoon, giving away another 20 metre tap.
28 min: PENALTY to Melbourne to help them into attacking range.
28 min: Craig Bellamy looks unimpressed with his side letting themselves down.
29 min: 20 metre tap Melbourne.
30 min: PENALTY to Melbourne who should be wanting to accept this invitation to the try line.
32 min: Canberra doing very well to continue to deny Melbourne all their opportunities and continue to contest this match.
34 min: Superb goal line defence from the Raiders to deny Melbourne in the last set with a couple of try saving tackles holding Storm players up in goal.
34 min: PENALTY to Canberra to piggy back them up field.
35 min: Interception by Neilson grinds a Canberra attacking raid to halt.
36 min: PENALTY to Melbourne to help them back onto the attack.
36 min: Sloppy work from Melbourne turnover possession cheaply.
37 min: Forward pass and Melbourne are gifted what should be their final attacking opportunity of the half.
39 min: TRY
TRY to the Storm! Smith from dummy half links up with Hinchcliffe who strolls through for a try. Conversion attempt by Cameron Smith from right in front successful.
Melbourne Storm 10-0
40 min: The kick off eats up time and we get one play in before the half time hooter which sees Melbourne go into the interval up 10 points to nil.
41 min: PENALTY to the Raiders. Melbourne Storm have kicked out on the full on the kick off fore a Canberra penalty at halfway.
42 min: Ineffective last tackle play from the Raiders right on the Melbourne line and a cheap changeover.
44 min: Canberra look to have started this second half quite aggressively, but Melbourne continue to look the better side.
47 min: Melbourne starting to bash some of these Canberra players with thumping defence.
49 min: Melbourne kicking early, not for great result so far, this one results in a 20 metre tap.
50 min: Canberra's kicking has not been great this half as much of it has just looked like catching practice for Slater.
54 min: TRY
TRY to the Storm! A lovely pass from Duffie to Slater on the inside who sprints though a gap, gets it onto Cronk in support to score. Conversion attempt from Smith successful.
Melbourne Storm 16-0
55 min: Cameron Smith on the forth tackle looks for a 40/20, well stopped by Canberra.
56 min: Canberra attack can't seem to trouble the Storm and Slater earns Melbourne a 20 metre tap.
57 min: Duffie knocks the ball on 25 out from the Melbourne line and this will be a great opportunity for Canberra to attack.
57 min: Canberra lose it on the try line and Melbourne clean up.
58 min: A big brawl has been sparked and a PENALTY has been blown. Kostjasyn is on the ground.
59 min: The PENALTY was awarded to Canberra for a flop as the game is finally allowed to continue.
60 min: Canberra still cannot seem to penetrate this Melbourne defence and the Storm have a 20 metre restart.
62 min: Dropped ball from the Storm 40 out from their own line.
63 min: Raiders give the ball right back with their own unforced error awarding Melbourne a scrum feed.
64 min: O'Neill loses it on the Raiders' line, Canberra hands appeared to have hit it out but Canberra are awarded the scrum feed 10 out from their own line.
65 min: PENALTY to Melbourne and McCrone has something to say about it.
65 min: VIDEO REFEREE for a possible TRY to the Storm.
67 min: TRY
TRY to the Storm! Slater draws defenders before getting it onto Duffie who puts on an acrobatic effort to score in the corner. Conversion attempt from Smith unsuccessful.
Melbourne Storm 20-0
67 min: Canberra go for a short kick off, but it doesn't get good results and Melbourne have the ball 30 out from their own line.
68 min: Melbourne starting to show some real class, looking far too good for Canberra.
69 min: Ferguson makes a break down the touchline and is tackled into touch.
70 min: Vidot intercepts and flies toward the try line, but Cronk finds speed and puts on a superb try saving tackle.
71 min: Ferguson bombs an opportunity failing to take a catch and dropping the ball close to the line.
72 min: Ball lost forward by Canberra who are refusing to complete a set now.
75 min: TRY
TRY to the Storm! The ball goes from sideline to sideline with a Harlem Globetrotter-esque display from the Storm getting out to the right hand side to put Jesse Bromwich in to score. Conversion attempt from Smith successful.
Melbourne Storm 26-0
78 min: Melbourne defence continues to give nothing away absolutely overpowering the Raiders.
80 min: Canberra have the last attacking set of the game and even with the game already won, Melbourne won't give anything away, taking this game 26 nil.