The Melbourne Storm have put in a stunning first half demolition job on the Canberra Raiders to open a 24-6 lead at the halftime break.
But it could have been even better if not for a bunker no try call that had commentators baffled.
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Before the game, former Storm star Billy Slater told Channel 9 that Melbourne needed to get off to a good start.
“For the Storm, it‘s really important to get off to a good start,” he wrote in the WWOS blog. “That’s the challenge with having the week off, is mentally being left in the blocks – they have to be aware.”
It did not take the Storm too long to heed his warning.
Storm forward Jesse Bromwich crashed over for the first score after just six minutes and on Triple M, Mark Geyer was already concerned.
“That’s a bit too easy especially 5 minutes into the game. Bit of a concern for Ricky Stuart’s men,” he said.
He wasn‘t alone when the Storm ran in two more tries in no time to burst out of the blocks, running out to a 16-0 lead after nine minutes.
“It‘s a carve up early, Canberra haven’t turned up,” Paul Vautin said on Channel 9 after the second try, which saw the Storm go wide and Josh Addo-Carr draw and pass to put Ryan Papenhuyzen over.
“They‘re being cut to ribbons out wide. Look at them walk back disconsolately. Heads are down.”
The Raiders had completed one from two sets before the Storm opening the dominant lead in a spectacular opening to the match.
It was a masterclass of dealing with the week off and clearly Craig Bellamy had the same idea as Slater.
The Storm even had a try disallowed in the 18th minute when Josh Addo-Carr was deemed to have knocked on while grounding the ball on a grubber.
The Fox League commentators were ready to give it a try and were stunned by the decision.
Is that a gap between hand and ball?Source:FOX SPORTS
While the focus was on Addo-Carr’s foot going out, the bunker saw a knock on from the Storm flyer.
“No, sorry, I wasn‘t even looking at the put down, now downward pressure,” Voss said after the no try call.
But Alexander wasn‘t swayed “that’s a try”.
“What’s wrong with him (Maxwell)? Is there something wrong with Jared? Is he up there in Queensland?”
However he said: “That might be the break Canberra needed”.
“We all need to find an optometrist who works on a Saturday morning,” Voss said.
The fans weren‘t happy with the call with former star Jamie Soward leading the anger.
That was a try. Come on man it’s for all the chocolates now. We need it right.
The bunker trying to keep the Raiders in this? No downward pressure? You. Are. Kidding. #NRLStormRaiders
24-0 after 24 mins with a try disallowed.
This is phenomenal. #nrlstormraiders
But the Storm scored a fourth try in the 23rd minute when Justin Olam caught a loose ball when the Raiders had failed to take care of a bouncing grubber.
“16 minutes from halftime, this is staggering, absolutely staggering,” Andrew Voss said on Fox League commentary.
At 24-0, it was an absolute thrashing but Nick Cotric’s 29th minute try halted the flow of points and kept the door slightly open in the sudden death clash.
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