Melbourne Storm have become just the fourth team to hold the Minor Premiership, NRL Grand Final and the World Club Challenge after a 38-4 win over Leeds Rhinos.
The Rhinos made the better start and took the lead after some enterprising last tackle play saw Stevie Ward spin a pass out to Ryan Hall to score in the corner. Kallum Watkins’ conversion attempt went just wide, but it was still a Rhinos lead in Melbourne.
Unfortunately for the Rhinos, the lead didn’t last long as Jesse Bromwich was able to use his strength to power over the line. Cameron Smith was off target with the conversion but Storm were level.
One of the big stories of the game was the young halfback Brodie Croft. Croft was able to duck under the Leeds defence and get it down in the same movement. Smith got the conversion to extend the lead out to six.
A six point lead then became an eight point lead as Smith added two points from a penalty after Billy Slater was adjudged to have been blocked off.
There was time for one more Melbourne try before the break as Suliasi Vunivalu showed great footwork to cut inside and go under right by the posts. Smith hit the conversion again for a fourteen point lead.
Leeds needed a big start to the second half, but they couldn’t get it as Nelson Asofa-Solomona was able to power his way over in a try not too dissimilar to the first one. Cameron Smith’s excellent game with the boot continued with another conversion.
Any chance the Rhinos had faded fast after Felise Kaufusi scored after being put through by Croft. Surprisingly, Cameron Smith was off target with his kick, but it didn’t matter as the Storm’s lead continued to increase.
The confidence was flowing through the veins of the men in purple and it showed with their next try as Will Chambers got in on the act. A brilliant cross field kick was palmed back by Vunivalu, leaving Chambers in acres of space to get the four points. Smith was again off target, he soon went off for a well deserved rest as the Storm continue to prepare for the start of the NRL.
There was even time for one more try as Dale Finucane was able to carry himself over the line. Cameron Munster took over from kicking duties and got the extra two points, and with that, the full time hooter sounded and Melbourne are world champions again.
It is the perfect preparation for the Storm as they look to defend their NRL crown. They open with a trip to Perth to play Canterbury Bulldogs on the 10th March.
As for Leeds, they can be proud of their effort, especially in the first half. They fly back to the UK before travelling to Widnes to take on the Vikings a week on Sunday.