Sunday afternoon 23rd September we attended the Storm Vs Paramatta NRL Preliminary Final at Telstra Dome. It is interesting that the first game I saw at Telstra Dome was rugby. Storm usually play at Olympic Park - the Graveyard and it was interesting to watch the game in a large, modern venue.
It might not be an advantage to have the week off in the finals, as yesterday Geelong only just beat Collingwood in an AFL Prelim Final after having the week off. Storm, who likewise had had a rest last week, started the game in a lethargic frame of mind. Paramatta, on the other hand, came to play.
Paramatta applied relentless pressure from the opening kick off. It was not a surprise when Eric Grothe ran a try across the line in the eleventh minute. It was very wide so the conversion was difficult and was missed. From about the half way mark of the half Storm started to get their act together, and started to apply relentless pressure. At the 28 minute mark Steve Turner crossed over for a try which Cameron Smith did not convert. Four minutes later it was Cooper Cronk's turn to score close to the posts (see photo) and Cameron Smith converted easily. Storm continued to threaten to score more tries until half time but Paramatta held them out. With the score standing at 10 to 4 the predominantly Storm crowd enjoyed the half time break.
Paramatta started the second half as well as the first with a try to Joel Reddy after only three minutes, which was converted by Krishan Inu. The score now was even at 10 all. On the score board it looked like a run away win for Storm from then on as they scored two penalty goals and two converted tries in the second half. It wasn't an easy win though, as Paramatta with the Grand Final at stake continued to battle for a try. They had two tries disallowed in close decisions by the Video Ref.
This tough fought win was a better preparation for next week's Grand Final than a run away win like Storm's first win of the Final Series against the Broncos.
Another success for Storm on the afternoon is that the game attracted a crowd of 33,427, the largest crowd at a Storm game in Melbourne.
Telstra Dome is a much more convenient venue to attend that Olympic park. Finding a park for the car is always a problem at the Graveyard but today we took the train to Southern Cross station, and walked the hundred metres or so to the ground.