Melbourne Storm book spot in NRL Grand Final but Billy Slater in doubt

Melbourne has booked a spot in its third straight NRL Grand Final with a dominant 22-6 win over the Sharks.

But it could come at a very big cost with star fullback Billy Slater set to come under the scrutiny of the Match Review Committee over a shoulder charge in the first half.

The Storm opened the scoring in the 4th minute of the game with a penalty goal before Brodie Croft scored the first try of the night.


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Then Slater added his name to the scoring sheet with the Storm’s second try to give the side a 14-0 lead.

A Cronulla brain explosion just before half-time gifted the Storm another try when stand-in captain Luke Lewis walked away from his position at marker after a scuffle broke out in back play.

That allowed Cameron Smith to send Slater over for his second try of the night with the Storm taking a 20-nil lead into the break.

Melbourne continued their dominance in the second half with the injury ravaged Sharks never in the contest despite a late try Lewis.

The Storm will make their 8th Grand Final appearance in 13 years next weekend and have a chance to become the first side since Brisbane in 1993 to defend the title.

But all eyes will be on Slater as he faces the possibility of being rubbed out for what would be his last ever game.

The star fullback was penalised in the 14th minute after a try-saving hit on Soasaia Feki.

Slater will find out on Saturday if he will be charged by the Match Review Committee which will earn him 200 demerit points and a stint on the sidelines if found guilty.

Slater appears unconcerned at the prospect of missing the Grand Final.

“It’s pretty hard to make a conventional tackle when you’re going across at top speed trying to save a try like that, it was just a collision,” he said. 

He’s also received the backing of Sharks coach Shane Flanagan who said it wouldn’t be fair if Slater was rubbed out.

“I thought he had a hand in there actually, he might’ve hit him with one shoulder and one hand,” Flanagan said. 

“What do you want him to do there? For his team he needs to save a try there.”

Melbourne will play the winner of Saturday night’s preliminary final between South Sydney and the Sydney Roosters.

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