NRL: Suliasi Vunivalu hat-trick sinks Raiders

Suliasi Vunivalu
Suliasi Vunivalu Photo credit: Image: Getty

A first-half Suliasi Vunivalu hat-trick has inspired Melbourne to a commanding 22-10 NRL victory over Canberra.

The dashing Storm winger was unstoppable at GIO Stadium in the round two clash on Friday night, running in his third try after 30 minutes to stun the Raiders.

After keeping Gold Coast scoreless in their round one win, Canberra had no answers to the force of the Storm, who look as fearsome as ever despite the retirements of stars Billy Slater and Ryan Hoffman.

Craig Bellamy's men did all the attacking during the first 40 minutes, taking full advantage of their possession dominance.

Melbourne grabbed a 14-0 halftime lead and skipper Cameron Smith extended that buffer with a penalty goal early in the second half.

But the Green Machine were able to work their way into the contest, with a special try in the 50th minute to captain Jarrod Croker giving Raiders fans some hope.

But some rusty play in attack, combined with typical gritty Storm defending, snuffed out any raised expectations from the home side.

Melbourne prop Nelson Asofa-Solomona all but closed the door on a Raiders comeback when he barged over for his team's fourth try in the 60th minute.

Croker grabbed a consolation try with 10 minutes remaining for a double to continue his impressive return to the team after a serious knee injury at the end of last season.

The surprise early return of winger Jordan Rapana following a shoulder reconstruction was a major positive for Canberra.



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