One of the most emotional games I can remember...https://www.heraldsun.com.au/sport/storm-on-fire-against-warriors/news-story/c492943e116f289450b72193aee21305?sv=f4d973b749546982df2ad1798bafa7bfMelbourne Storm smash the Warriors 40-6 and begins on-field fight
Russell Gould, Herald Sun
April 26, 2010
THE intent was clear from the moment Ryan Hoffman laid out Warriors full-back Wade McKinnon three minutes into the match.
The Melbourne Storm back-rower, who bleeds purple, charged down the field after a bomb from teammate Cooper Cronk and left the Warriors, and everyone at Etihad Stadium know he wasn't there because he had to be.
It may have been emotion or adrenalin or a desire to prove a point but Melbourne Storm's emphatic, and stunning, 40-6 win over the Warriors was proof positive this group is not going to lie down.
The on-field urgings from five-eight Brett Finch were as per normal, finger pointing and directing his teammates with and without the football.
Defence is the Storm's benchmark, and the driving gang tackle on Warriors centre Joel Moon was full of commitment.
There was plenty more, too.
Storm was attacking forcefully, and eventually it was the skipper who carried three defenders over the line, to open the scoring.
It had to be Cameron Smith.
He hadn't scored all year, was coming off what he called the worst game of his career, and easily the worst week of his sporting life.
He has lost maybe more than anyone, his two trophy-hosting moments on grand final day now rendered moot.
After 17 minutes the team with nothing to play for was in front.
Melbourne was pushing and the Warriors, with points on the line, were fumbling.
Then Storm debutante Matt Duffie, the 20-year-old from Christchurch thrust into the big-time made his mark.
He scored his first ever try after a run-around play and a pass from Cooper Cronk who was masterful. Duffie managed a second later on.
Gareth Widdop, who moved to Melbourne from Yorkshire as a teenager, was also making his debut, and that's something the Storm has in its favour for the next 17 games.
There are kids and recruits keen to make their NRL mark, points or no points.
The margin was growing, but there was no extra rest for the Storm boys.
There was plenty of free-wheeling with the football from Melbourne, which was unusual, but had to come regardless because Storm had been struggling to score points all year.
As Ryan Tandy ran over for a try it was all becoming too easy - a percentage booster in a perfect world. In six games that mattered this season Melbourne Storm had not scored a total of more than 20 points.
In the one that didn't matter, at least with nothing tangible to play for, they were 22 by halftime.
Even with only 30 seconds to go, and a scrum to be formed, the Storm boys charged over quickly. Every second counted.
And when Smith kicked from the scrum, Billy Slater charged full pace to get it. He didn't, but the intent was there. He wanted it, badly.
The second half was almost irrelevant, but for the record it was as full of intent as the first.
More tackles for Smith, more runs from Hoffman.
There was not a single mistake, and no let-up in defence. Their message was clear; points or no points, they were winners, always had been, always would be.