Storm crush Cowboys in NRL Grand Final

Thurston's tribute text to Cronk ahead of grand final                                   
          LEAGUE

Veteran NRL stars Billy Slater and Cooper Cronk both have hard decisions to make after helping Melbourne Storm to Grand Final glory at the expense of North Queensland Cowboys on Sunday.

You know when you play tennis or pool or golf with someone better and you lift to their level nearly as though you don't want to be embarrassed?

"I honestly didn't know whether my body would let me back here", he said, in reference to his missed season of 2016 and the incredible amount of recovery work he had to do. You are going to be better for the run for this year.

Never before have we seen a trio of players like this but, more importantly we'll never see it again.

Now, a premiership victor and the owner of two grand final tries on the one evening, the 22-year-old is going places fast.

Smith, Slater, Cronk and co rubbed further salt in the wood in the finals stages as Curtis Scott strolled through next, after Addo-Carr picked up a loose ball.

Winger Josh Addo-Carr chimed in with a double to to help the storm to and emphatic victory.

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Storm captain Cameron Smith is the favourite to win the 2017 Clive Churchill medal, which is given to the best on ground for the Grand Final.

The Storm have recovered from that disappointment in style and are a much stronger team than 12 months ago.

Luckily for the Storm, less so for the Cowboys, the precision and execution returned at just the right time to coast to the premiership. A attractive length-of-the-field effort was finished by Josh Ado-Carr, a player who could run 10.6 for the 100m when he was 16, and a player who the Wests Tigers were unable to get the best out of in season 2016.

Although two premierships, won in 2007 and 2009, were stripped due to salary cap breaches, a side boasting the likes of Smith, Cronk and Slater, and coach Craig Bellamy, for so long, ought to have won more than one legitimate championship this millennium. The 34-year-old fullback, who has done it all in rugby league for club and country, chocked back tears as the final hooter sounded.

After a Te Maire Martin try in the 48th minute gave the Cowboys the faintest of hopes, they found themselves on the attack in the Storm red zone midway through the second half.

That was as good as it got for the Cowboys though as an unstoppable Storm outfit exploded late in similar fashion to that in which they put Brisbane to the sword a week earlier.

The Storm have been making some uncharacteristic errors during the finals, but they will be looking to fix that on Sunday. So fans were left scratching their heads when the Cowboys won 24-16, and were even more baffled by their huge upset in the preliminary final against the Roosters.

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