NRL Grand Final: Melbourne Storm masterclass sinks Cowboys in decider

Cameron Smith celebrates a try with Dale Finucane.

Cameron Smith celebrates a try with Dale Finucane. Photo: Getty

Melbourne has sent Cooper Cronk out a winner after routing North Queensland 34-6 to claim the 2017 NRL premiership on Sunday.

A vintage Storm strong-armed their way to a three-try lead at half-time and were challenged when Te Maire Martin sliced through soon after resumption.

The Cowboys had a couple of opportunities to reduce the deficit further, however were turned away and folded easily as their finals fairytale came to a bitter end.

Dale Finucane restored his team’s advantage in the 64th minute and from there the Storm were never threatened as they avenged last year’s grand final loss to Cronulla.

Curtis Scott sealed the title – and their 10th straight win – minutes later when Josh Addo-Carr scooped up a Cowboys error deep in their own territory and found his centre.

In front of a crowd of 79,722 at ANZ Stadium, the big three of Cameron Smith, Billy Slater and Cronk then put on their signature three-man play for Addo-Carr to complete a brace.

It was a dominant performance from a team that finished three wins clear of second place in the regular season, ensuring Cronk departed from the club with two titles.

The contest was only four minutes old when the Cowboys copped their first major blow of the night – and it was some friendly fire from Ethan Lowe.

The Cowboys second-rower stretched out to tackle a runaway Jesse Bromwich but only managed to swing around, accidentally breaking Shaun Fensom’s leg in the process.

Play was stopped for 10 minutes as the Cowboys prop was stretchered from the field.

The Bromwich line break was one of two opportunities the Storm had to open the scoring, only for some desperate Cowboys defence to hold firm.

It wasn’t until the 19th minute that the favourites turned their dominance into points, with a runaway Addo-Carr latching onto a Will Chambers offload to finish a 90-metre movement.

The breakthrough was all Melbourne needed to turn the screws on its opposition as its right-edge ensured an 18-0 advantage at half-time.

First Slater sent Felise Kaufusi in on a right-side shift in the 28th minute, before the Melbourne fullback went through himself on the same play just before the break.

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