Slater scores first try in two years as Storm smash Dragons

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Billy Slater scored his first NRL try in almost two years as ladder-topping Melbourne Storm produced a stunning performance to beat St George Illawarra Dragons 34-22.

The margin of victory was ultimately kind to the Dragons - shorn of star five-eighth Gareth Widdopp - thanks to a late surge, but Melbourne could not be denied after a scintillating display from their backs.

Wingers Suliasi Vunivalu and Josh Addo-Carr helped themselves to two tries apiece in the first half to put the Storm in the ascendancy.

Jason Nightingale got his first of three tries for the hosts before half-time, but Melbourne's first victory in Wollongong since 2005 was capped by Slater's pair of second-half scores - his first since 2015.

Nightingale crossed twice more as the Storm were down to 12 men after Cooper Cronk was sent to the sin-bin, but it could not take the gloss off Melbourne's eighth win from nine games this season, moving them four points clear of the Dragons and the chasing pack at the top.

Sydney Roosters were unable to keep pace with the Storm as they suffered a last-gasp 14-13 defeat to New Zealand Warriors.

Shaun Johnson celebrated a new Warriors contract by kicking an 80th-minute penalty to seal the points after Sydney had roared back from 12-4 down at the interval to lead heading into the closing stages.