CAMERON Smith played as close as you can to the perfect game but the man in the debate for the G.O.A.T. title was pushed all the way by a departing unsung hero as the Storm proved a class above the rest with a big grand final win over the Cowboys.
Here's who starred and who struggled in our Storm player ratings.
1. Billy Slater (8)
Laid on the Kaufusi try and was key in the Storm getting on top with momentum by busting the Cowboys open with a quick tap. Scored the third try to give his side full control.
2. Suliasi Vunivalu (5)
Made the first error of the match in a strong Justin O'Neill tackle. Plenty of involvement but unable to break out.
3. Will Chambers (7.5)
Stood up when the pressure was on in the second half, with some tough carries out of his own end. Superb angled run and pass to open the Cowboys up for Addo-Carr's try. Did beautifully to set up a Cronk break off a 20m tap after quickly getting the ball to Slater.
4. Curtis Scott (6)
Quiet first half with the Storm getting more joy down Chambers' right edge but worked his way into it and took advantage of a nice pass from Addo-Carr to score a late try.
5. Josh Addo-Carr (8)
Got a bit of help from the referee when he broke away to score the first try but showed extreme speed to blow off chaser Michael Morgan. Made over 200 metres and set up a late try before icing the cake with a simple finish off a sensational Harris cut out ball.
6. Cameron Munster (7)
Played tough after grabbing at a sore shoulder early. Some huge body contact in some of his tackles and did well to get out of his in goal at an important time in the first half.
7. Cooper Cronk (7)
Beautiful ball to create the first chance of the game for Bromwich and played the tempo game superbly as Melbourne got on top. A few ragged passes in the second half but he did what he needed to do.
8. Jesse Bromwich (6)
Bombed an early try after a beautiful flat ball from Cronk put him into the back field. Apart from that he was excellent, with some big yardage in his first stint and plenty of aggression in his defence.
9. Cameron Smith (10)
Excellent start, with an early run out of dummy half and strong defence on Taumalolo. Pulled the strings around the ruck superbly all game and when the pressure ramped up in the second half he wrestled the game back onto Melbourne's terms then put Finucane over. As close as you can get to the perfect game.
10. Jordan McLean (5)
Contained well in the early going but worked hard in defence and started to use his power game at the back end.
11. Felise Kaufusi (7)
Kept an attacking set alive after a Hail Mary pass from Will Chambers went to ground and scored off the next set after Smith had forced a drop out.
12. Tohu Harris (9)
Arguably the best player on the field in the first half and he kept turning up when his side needed him in the second. Wouldn't have been a bad pick for Clive Churchill Medal, capping his night with an insane cut out pass for Addo-Carr's second try.
13. Dale Finucane (6.5)
Strong in defence and played a huge role in keeping things tight around the ruck. Well deserved try to wrestle control back for his side when he was put over from close range by Smith.
14. Kenny Bromwich (4)
Made his tackles but didn't have much of an impact with ball in hand.
15. Tim Glasby (6)
Beautiful hands on a difficult pick up and kept the Storm rolling once he came on.
16. Nelson Asofa-Solomona (7)
Made over 100 metres off the bench. A strong rival for Jesse Bromwich for the title of best front-rower on the field.
17. Slade Griffin (4)
Came on when it was party time for the Storm with 20 minutes to go and he did more than just throw confetti, with a couple of strong carries as his side attacked late.
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