Double for Slater as Storm seal Grand Final spot
Billy Slater scored a double as Melbourne Storm raised their game in the second half to seal their place in a second successive NRL Grand Final with an emphatic 30-0 victory over Brisbane Broncos.
The Broncos had the better of the first half, but failed to capitalise and Josh Addo-Carr's try just before the break gave the Storm an 8-0 advantage in Cooper Cronk's final home match at AAMI Park on Friday.
Melbourne were guilty of uncharacteristic errors in opening 40 minutes, but Slater crossed either side of a score from Nelson Asofa-Solomona in a clinical second-half display from the minor premiers.
Cameron Smith also become the first player to score 1000 NRL goals, slotting over six kicks in the first preliminary final as Craig Bellamy's side set up a showdown with Sydney Roosters or North Queensland Cowboys in Sydney a week on Sunday.
Smith's penalty put last year's runners-up in front midway through and Suliasi Vunivalu should have extended that advantage with an opening try, but dropped the ball after Will Chambers had put it on a plate for the prolific winger.
Vunivalu made a positive impact at the other end with a desperate last-ditch tackle on Corey Oates, who ought to have scored in the corner before Tautau Moga also wasted a try-scoring opportunity with the Broncos on top.
The Storm put pressure on themselves by making some amateurish mistakes, but the rapid Addo-Carr took a brilliant offload from Curtis Scott to race away for the first try on the stroke of half-time.
Broncos captain Darius Boyd, returning from a hamstring injury, was withdrawn just over 10 minutes into the second half and the Storm stretched their lead when Slater darted away for his first try following Felise Kaufusi's pass.
Asofa-Solomona barged his way over and Smith took his goal tally in the top tier to four figures before Cronk laid on another Slater four-pointer. Tohu Harris added a late penalty in what was a resounding Storm win.