Melbourne Storm 30
Gold Coast Titans 6
The accolades flowed for breathtaking Melbourne NRL star Billy Slater after he broke the all-time try scoring record for a fullback in the Storm's 30-6 win over the Gold Coast at Skilled Park on Saturday.
Slater's double took his NRL career try tally to 130, sneaking past former Penrith fullback Rhys Wesser's previous best of 129 and his total from just three games in 2012 to six.
The clash was tight in the first half with Melbourne up 4-0 at the break. Slater blew the game open in the second half - leaving the crowd of 11,254, and William Zillman, mesmerised - when he rocketed past the Titans fullback in the 65th minute to score.
His second try in the 71st minute was even more amazing, racing after a Cameron Smith kick and grabbing it with one hand from the clutches of Jordan Rankin before somehow grounding the ball a whisker before hitting the dead-ball line.
"He's freakish, absolutely freakish - the best I've ever seen," said losing coach John Cartwright shaking his head.
Storm coach Craig Bellamy joked he wasn't old enough to go back 100 years but said he'd seen the likes of champion fullbacks Graeme Langlands, Garry Jack, Graham Eadie and Gary Belcher.
"I saw all those guys and I don't think I've seen better .... no I haven't," he said emphatically.
While captain Cameron Smith said his forwards had set up victory with a brick-wall defence in the first 40 minutes, Slater stole the show with his magnificent speed and anticipation and was delighted to grab the record.
"I wasn't aware of it going into the game but it's something I'm pretty proud of actually," said the 28-year-old who hails from the Sunshine Coast.
"To hold a record like that is credit to the players around me who have created all those tries."