Melbourne Storm advance to National Rugby League grand final

MELBOURNE, Australia — The Melbourne Storm have kept alive their chance of repeating as National Rugby League champions.

The Storm, led by veteran Billy Slater's two first-half tries, took an early 22-0 lead over the Cronulla Sharks and cruised to a 22-6 win on Friday.

Cameron Smith kicked three conversions and two penalty goals for the winners.

The Storm will play the South Sydney Rabbitohs or Sydney Roosters in the grand final on Sept. 30 at Sydney's Olympic stadium.

The Rabbitohs, half-owned by New Zealand-born actor Russell Crowe, play the Roosters on Saturday in the other semifinal.

The Storm defeated North Queensland Cowboys 34-6 in last year's grand final.

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