THE Billy Slater show rolls on, with the Melbourne fullback scoring a double for the fourth consecutive match as the Storm tore apart Sydney Roosters at AAMI Park yesterday.
It was an impressive performance by the Storm as a whole, with the performances of Slater, Cameron Smith and Cooper Cronk leaving Roosters coach Brian Smith to sift through the ruins of an embarrassing eight-tries-to-one defeat.
But it was Slater who again stole the show, scoring twice and setting up a try for Cronk with a grubber kick off the outside of his boot when running at pace.
His eight tries are more than Parramatta, Gold Coast and the Roosters have scored this season.
Asked if it was his best ever start to the season, Slater replied ''probably''. ''To be honest I don't think it's real important how many tries you actually score, it's a team game and it's the performance that we put on,'' he said.
The Storm are now the only undefeated team in the competition and sit on top of the ladder.
Playing in good conditions for the first time this season, they again gave their creative side an airing and skipper Smith hinted it might be something that will be shown more throughout the season.
''It was really nice to play on a Sunday afternoon when we had some grip on the footy and we could really show our skills,'' he said.
''There was a lot of one-hand offloading and some flick passing and some balls through the line, so it was really nice to be able to play like that. Out on the field it's really enjoyable … you're having a lot of fun. It's great to be able to do that.''
The Storm suffered an injury scare in the final minute when Gareth Widdop rolled an ankle as he tackled Roosters fullback Anthony Minichiello. But Storm coach Craig Bellamy said the injury did not appear serious.
''He's got it in an ice bucket at the moment so we'll just have to wait and see,'' he said.
The Roosters coach could not see many positives from the performance that has left his side in 11th. ''It felt like we were playing upwind and against the tide most of the day to me,'' Smith said.
However, the Roosters were unlucky, with two contentious decisions by video referee Rod Lawrence going against them.
The first allowed a try to Kevin Proctor when an argument could be raised that Ryan Hinchcliffe had obstructed the defence.
Lawrence then disallowed a try to Roosters winger Sam Perrett just before half-time that would have given the Roosters some much-needed momentum heading into the second half.
Smith said the rulings ''certainly didn't help our cause''. When asked how much they influenced the game, he replied: ''Hard to say. We'll never know.''
''Certainly we weren't good enough to overcome those, but it wasn't just the refs' calls about the point-scoring plays,'' Smith said.
''Those sort of things tend to go with the team that's dominating and they dominated us.''
MELBOURNE 44 (C Cronk 2 B Slater 2 W Chambers R Hoffman D Nielsen K Proctor tries C Smith 5 G Widdop goals) bt SYDNEY ROOSTERS 4 (B Cordner try) at AAMI Park. Referee: Tony Archer, Gavin Badger. Crowd: 11,897.