NRL Grand Final: Melbourne Storm beat North Queensland Cowboys

It was the perfect end to an era as Melbourne Storm trio Cooper Cronk, Billy Slater and Cameron Smith all played together for the last time
It was the perfect end to a perfect era as Melbourne Storm trio Cooper Cronk, Billy Slater and Cameron Smith all played together for the last time

Melbourne Storm won their third National Rugby League title by beating North Queensland Cowboys 34-6 in the Grand Final.

Full-back Billy Slater was awarded the Clive Churchill Medal for the second time of his career after a man-of-the-match performance.

Skipper Cameron Smith, the 2017 Player of the Year, scored five conversions as the dominant Storm ran in six tries.

Josh Addo-Carr scored two tries - his 20th and 21st for Storm this season.

It was a second Premiership title for the long-serving 'big three' of hooker Smith, halfback Cronk and fullback Slater, who were playing together for a final time.

"We have so much respect for the Cowboys as a football team. They should hold their heads proud," Slater, 34, said.

"I have played alongside Cooper for the last 17 years and he has made me a better player and made us a better team."

Melbourne's latest NRL title follows successes in 1999 and 2012.

The Cowboys had hoped to launch an unlikely comeback when Te Maire Martin opened the second-half scoring early on.

However, their hopes quickly diminished as Storm's Dale Finucane scored his first try in four Grand Final appearances shortly afterwards, before Addo-Carr rounded off a fantastic day for Melbourne.

The Cowboys were without injured co-captains Johnathan Thurston and Matt Scott.

US rapper Macklemore performed his pro-gay anthem Same Love before kick-off despite calls in Australia to ban him from doing so.

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