Storm's Slater wins Clive Churchill Medal

  • Storm's Slater wins Clive Churchill Medal

Storm's Slater wins Clive Churchill Medal

Only when Cowboys pivot Te Maire Martin sliced through soon after resumption did the Storm's grip on the trophy loosen.

If they can put some scoreboard pressure on Melbourne in that opening 20-25 minutes and get in front, then I think when Taumalolo comes back into the game in the final 20-25 minutes, if they are in front, the Cowboys will be a huge chance of winning.

They have instead been forced to move their final training session to Sydney's Jubilee Park in Kogorah.

'12 months ago you had a suit on, did you think you'd get back here? "You work extremely hard for it".

Slater, who scored one try and assisted another, was named Clive Churchill medallist, an award in tribute to the great fullback of the early 1900s who was considered the game's greatest ever until the Storm's no.1 came along.

Much of it comes down to their excellent completion rates, which have been at 80 per cent or higher through the last three game and have got better each week, culminating in them finishing 90 per cent of their 39 uses of the ball in the preliminary final.

No single player at the Storm needs to lift but they'll have to fix the lacklustre starts to matches that have plagued them over the last few weeks.

In their final appearance together across 14 years, the Storm's big three of Cameron Smith, Billy Slater and Cronk put on their signature three-man play for Addo-Carr to complete his brace.

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

There isn't a metric category which can measure it, but confidence is so important in modern-day rugby league, and North Queensland have plenty of it.

Then a third came just before halftime after Cowboy Antonio Winterstein fumbled a grubber.

Although two premierships, won in 2007 and 2009, were stripped due to salary cap breaches, a side boasting the likes of Smith, Cronk and Slater, and coach Craig Bellamy, for so long, ought to have won more than one legitimate championship this millennium.

But they were both on the field at ANZ Stadium this weekend to orchestrate a comprehensive 34-6 triumph over the 2015 premiers.

It is fitting that the final club game from that trio saw all three bring their best to the game's biggest stage, scoring or helping create four tries.

But Melbourne are better.

Asked for his thoughts on the prospect of prolonging his illustrious career, Slater told Channel Nine: "I really don't know yet". Morgan has grown into one of the best halves in the league and Taumalolo might be the best player in the world full stop.