By Stephen Gallagher
Storm 14 Raiders 12
This game was always going to be physical.
The first 20 minutes was just that. The Storm battered the Raiders, the Raiders ran in to the Storm – and it was a Can Smith penalty that separated the two.
On the back of some territory and a penalty, the Raiders knew what was needed. They went right to their dependable Leipana combination which saw Rapana grab his 23rd for the season with Aidan Sezar nailing the conversion on the sideline.
The Victorians found themselves in perfect field position in the 32nd minute, and a ball out to Cronk in his 300th game ran an unbeatable line to cross and get Melbourne back ahead and saw them keep that 8-6 scoreline at the half.
The second started much like the first. That tired, grinding football was prominent. The Storm start to show their experience in these situations as they turn the screws.
A big break by Vunivalu saw Jack Wighton sin binned, and the Storm score through Cheyse Blake bang on the 60 minute mark.
Smith missed the conversion, but a penalty four minutes later saw the game turn purple as the home side took their advantage to 14-6.
With 5 to play, in a desperate fifth tackle attempt – a short side shuffle saw three quick passes and Elliott Whitehead score in the corner. Seder nails the conversion. 14-12.
The clock kept on ticking and the Raiders just ran out of time. They left it too little, too late.
The Storm got it done in the typical Storm style as they now try hunt their second premiership.
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