AAP Rugby

Canberra shock Storm with 22-6 NRL win

By AAP Newswire

Winning three successive matches in Melbourne is enough to make most NRL coaches smile.

But Ricky Stuart isn't most NRL coaches.

Stuart described his team's performance in their 22-6 victory over the Storm in their round three restart as "disappointing".

Many would beg to differ, with the victory underlining their credentials as NRL premiership favourites.

The Raiders hadn't won three games to open a season since 2005, but their English halfback George Williams helped orchestrate a hit-and-run mission to maintain an unbeaten start for last year's grand finalists.

The win was also Canberra's third in succession in Melbourne, rattling the Storm's claim on their fortress.

Stuart wasn't able to attend the post-match press conference with the team rushed to the airport with their flight time brought forward due to fog closing in on Canberra.

But he spoke on the phone from the team bus and wasn't entirely happy.

"Without trying to play it down I was really disappointed with the way we executed and played in the second half and it's not the standard we are trying to play to," Stuart said.

"I was really happy with the way we started the game ... but we didn't go on with it and fortunately for us, they didn't play well in the second half.

"We will probably never play against a Storm team who play that poorly in the second half and I'm hoping we will never be that poor again either."

Storm coach Craig Bellamy was shattered by his team's showing and said they were never in the hunt.

"I was a little bit embarrassed by that performance," Bellamy said.

"We were a long way away from doing the things that we practised to do.

"We certainly need a little mentality adjustment."

Williams set up two tries in the first half in a commanding performance as the visitors raced to an 18-6 lead.

The opening try was scored by Jordan Rapana, who only returned to the Raiders during the coronavirus-enforced shutdown after a stint playing rugby in Japan.

Rapana crossed in the fourth minute after five-eighth Jack Wighton threw a cut-out pass to centre Jarrod Croker, who sent it on to his winger with the Storm caught short.

Williams then worked some magic with a show-and-go as he ran across the field firing a long ball to winger Nick Cotric, who dived over in the corner.

Melbourne got on the scoreboard through Dale Finucane in the 31st minute before Williams split the defence and offloaded for flying fullback Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad to score under the posts.

The Raiders' first two tries came after six-again with the Storm struggling to adapt to the new rule for ruck infringements.

They also did themselves no favours in the second half with their poor completion rate leaving Bellamy fuming from the coaches box.

Canberra also deserve credit for a massive defensive effort, leaving the Storm bereft of ideas to get across the tryline.

Melbourne's fate was sealed with six minutes remaining when centre Justin Olam looked certain to score before second-rower Joe Tapine managed to flip him on to his back keeping the ball off the ground.

Tapine was then rewarded with a 79th minute try, winning the race to kick into the in-goal by Cotric.