Vete Storms into NRL frame with Easts hat-trick
MELBOURNE Storm will be keeping a weather eye on Albert Vete after the prop's barnstorming performance for Easts Tigers in their 44-12 drubbing of Central Queensland Capras.
The Tongan international steered Easts to their fifth consecutive win with a try-scoring hat-trick that could see Craig Bellamy consider him for the Storm's Round 6 clash against North Queensland Cowboys.
Vete was the standout but Tigers coach Scott Sipple would also be impressed with Newcastle Knights recruit Matt Cooper, who bagged two tries in his best performance to date.
Cheyse Blair, Bennett Leslie and Tyrone Amey also crossed the chalk for Easts in a lopsided affair while man of the match Aaron Booth slotted five goals.
The wily hooker downplayed his own performance and lauded thrilled Vete's eye-catching effort.
"If I've seen it, I can't recall," Booth said of seeing a front-rower bag three tries.
Booth attributed Easts' strong start to the season on an improved defence while Capras coach David Faiumu must go back to the drawing board after his side's fourth consecutive loss.
Sione Veukiso and Chalice Atoi dotted down while BJ Aufaga-Toomaga slotted the club's 10,000th point but there was little else to celebrate in the 32-point loss.
Tigers now sit alongside Sunshine Coast Falcons atop the Intrust Super Cup ladder.
Meanwhile, Wynnum-Manly tightened their grip on third place with a 32-6 win over Tweed Heads at Piggabeen.
The first 'Flockbuster' of the year didn't match the hype with Wynnum-Manly comfortably bagging their ninth win from the past 11 encounters.
Burleigh Bears rounded out the weekend with a 38-22 win over Souths-Logan Magpies. Tyronne Roberts-Davis starred with 18 points while Kurtis Rowe scored two late tries for Burleigh.