Melbourne Storm roll Cowboys to wrap up NRL season

Melbourne will steam into their NRL qualifying final at full pace after rolling over the top of North Queensland 24-16 in their final round clash at AAMI Park.

The Storm were presented with the JJ Giltinan Shield by NRL boss Todd Greenberg after the match in clinching their third minor premiership in four years.

The win was their 20th for the season, the fourth time they have achieved such a feat, with the last time in 2017 leading to a grand final triumph.

Stunningly their biggest loss in the regular season was by just four points.

After a big win against Manly last round, the Storm were determined to build their momentum with a final looming next weekend against either Souths or Canberra.

Missing injured playmaker Cameron Munster, their performance wasn't up to the same standard as the Sea Eagles showing but they still did enough to dominate their willing opponents.

"It probably wasn't our best win of the season and we looked a bit flat at stages," Storm coach Craig Bellamy said.

"I suppose there wasn't a whole heap to gain by the result tonight.

"Some parts of the game we managed well but in other parts we looked flat and our energy levels weren't quite what they were last week.

"Hopefully we will iron that out this week and it won't happen again for the rest of the year."

Melbourne trailed early with Cowboys catching the Storm short out wide with winger Murray Taulagi dotting down in the 18th minute.

But the home side hit soon back through their own winger Sandor Earl and from there it was all Storm, who ran in three further tries.

Giant prop Nelson Asofa-Solomona was rewarded with a try after clocking up impressive figures of 174 run metres from just 44 minutes on the field.

Fullback Ryan Papenhuyzen didn't get across the line but proved a handful for North Queensland with a game-high 284-run metres.

His opposite Scott Drinkwater, who headed north from Melbourne mid-season, was among the Cowboys' best.

Cameron Smith was robbed of a try after a teammate held back a Cowboys player but the skipper still managed to kick three conversions and a penalty goal to click over 206 points for the season - the 36-year-old's highest ever season tally.

North Queensland were far from disgraced and after a disappointing season at least finished on a good note, with second rower Gavin Cooper crossing in the 80th minute.