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Melbourne Storm win NRL Grand Final after claiming hard-fought victory over Canterbury Bulldogs
Melbourne Storm claimed their first official NRL title in 13 years after battling to a 14-4 victory over Canterbury Bulldogs in the Grand Final at ANZ Stadium.
Stripped of their 2007 and 2009 premierships due to breaches of the salary cap, the Storm finally added a second title to their 1999 premiership courtesy of tries from former Wigan second-rower Ryan Hoffman, star full-back Billy Slater and wing Justin O'Neill.
Both sides defended stoutly in a hard-fought battle in front of an 82,976 crowd, but the Storm reaped the rewards of their offensive cohesion in the first half.
Their victory could have been even more emphatic but for an off day with the boot by captain Cameron Smith, who succeeded with just one of his four attempts at goal.
England forward James Graham suffered a sixth consecutive Grand Final defeat as he was heavily involved from the bench for the Bulldogs.
The 27-year-old, who lost five consecutive Super League Grand Finals with St Helens, could be facing more misery after he found himself at the centre of a biting allegation.
Graham, who has made a big impression in his first season with the Bulldogs, was put on report following a fracas that erupted after Canterbury scored their only try through wing Sam Perrett in the 26th minute.
Slater claimed he was bitten on the ear and initial television slow-motion replays did not make pleasant viewing for Graham.
Graham is due to link up with England for their training camp in South Africa next week but a potential suspension if the allegation is proven could mean he misses the autumn internationals against France and Wales.
It was a more productive day for his fellow England international Gareth Widdop, who played an influential role for Melbourne and made a brilliant try-saving tackle on Josh Reynolds.
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Telstra Premiership Table
|1||Manly Sea Eagles||21||34|
|3||South Sydney Rabbitohs||20||30|
|8||New Zealand Warriors||21||26|
|11||St George-Illawarra Dragons||21||24|
|13||Gold Coast Titans||21||20|
|Thursday 21st August|
|10:45||Canterbury vs Wests|
|Friday 22nd August|
|10:45||Parramatta vs Manly|
|Saturday 23rd August|
|08:30||Brisbane vs Newcastle|
|10:30||South Sydney vs North Queensland|
|Sunday 24th August|
|03:00||New Zealand Warriors vs Sydney|
|05:00||Cronulla vs Canberra|
|06:00||St George/Illawarra vs Gold Coast|
|Monday 25th August|
|10:00||Penrith vs Melbourne|
|Sunday 31st August|
|07:00||Canterbury vs South Sydney|
|07:00||New Zealand Warriors vs Gold Coast|
|Monday 18th August|
|Penrith 23 - 22 North Queensland|
|Sunday 17th August|
|Gold Coast 12 - 15 Manly|
|Newcastle 28 - 22 New Zealand Warriors|
|Saturday 16th August|
|Wests 4 - 48 Sydney|
|Melbourne 48 - 6 Cronulla|
|Canberra 16 - 34 St George/Illawarra|
|Friday 15th August|
|Parramatta 16 - 18 Canterbury|
|Monday 11th August|
|Sydney 26 - 18 Gold Coast|
|Sunday 10th August|
|St George/Illawarra 4 - 16 Penrith|
|New Zealand Warriors 16 - 12 Cronulla|
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