A hat-trick from rookie Israel Folau has capped off a strong 38-6 victory for the Melbourne Storm over the Canterbury Bulldogs, wrapping up the Minor Premiership for the Victorian team in the process.
The match was a traditional grinding affair for the first half as both sets of forwards rolled up their sleeves in the wet conditions. An early penalty goal to the Storm was followed up with the opening try of the match to Billy Slater, giving the Storm an early 8-0 lead before the Bulldogs hit back through replacement forward Jarrad Hickey. The 8-6 halftime scoreline in favour of the Storm was a fair reflection of the match as neither side had really dominated, with plenty of errors also contributing to the low score.
The second half began in much the same way, but all of a sudden the Bulldogs fell asleep while the Storm sparked into action. A 58th minute try to veteran winger Matt Geyer started the flood, and then Israel Folau produced three more clips for his 2007 highlights reel with a hat-trick in near-record time. Remarkably the Bulldogs tried to make it as easy as possible for the Storm, with some very basic errors and poor defence contributing to the onslaught - in fact, between the 60th and 70th minute the Bulldogs were starved of possession and couldn