Koroibete leads Storm to big win
Some Marika Koroibete magic and a wasteful Warriors outfit has seen Melbourne notch their third win of the season in front of 18,179 vocal fans at AAMI Park.
New Zealand had their chances but some costly errors, including eight in the opening half hour, would eventually send them home with a 30-14 defeat.
Two tries and 207 electrifying metres saw Koroibete steal the show as the flying Fijian further added to an already impressive highlight reel in 2015.
Billy Slater was at his ever-present best while skipper Cameron Smith became one of only five players in history to record 200 NRL wins.
The visitors burst out of the blocks early with 292 metres from their opening seven sets but four errors in the opening 10 minutes saw 64% of possession go to waste.
Slater thought he was certain to open the scoring on 15 minutes, breaking clear through before Manu Vatuvei appeared out of nowhere from the blindside, laying one of the tackles of the season to send Slater limping to the back field and coughing up possession.
After 20 minutes it was Mahe Fonua who opened the scoring for the home side, in his first game of 2015.
The Victorian latched onto a Will Chambers offload to burst through a non-existent Warriors defence, beating several players on his way to the try line.
Shaun Johnson looked set to level the scores nine minutes later as he broke clear through only for a desperate Slater ankle tap to bring him down.
That play proved crucial, as Melbourne would extend their lead to 12-0 off the following set.
Blake Green looped a pass to Koroibete who set out on a 30 metre run through five Warriors defenders to send the home crowd into delirium.
Facing a 12-point deficit, the visitors finally found reward for effort two minutes from halftime as Vatuvei did brilliantly to stay in the field of play and carry three opponents over the line to make the score 12-4 at the break.
However Melbourne would be granted breathing room less than seven minutes after the restart.
Slater and Cooper Cronk opened up the field with consecutive and creative off loads as Fonua went on to play the easiest of assists to Will Chambers for his fourth try of the season and a 14-point lead.
The Warriors had a golden opportunity to hit straight back after Dale Finucane fumbled possession from the ensuing kickoff but when Solomone Kata did the same seconds later you got the sense this was not to be the visitor's night.
Desperate for a spark Nathan Friend gave the Warriors just that, finding a way through from dummy half to cut the deficit to eight points with 21 minutes to play.
But as momentum hung in the balance there was only one man who would bust it wide open.
With his side penned deep in Warrior territory, Koroibete broke through the Warriors line to run all of 85 metres before Johnson completed an impressive chase to save the day.
Tim Glasby would cap off his teammate's scintillating effort to cross and extend the score to 24-10.
The form of Koroibete to start 2015 has been a massive boost for the Storm and tonight's performance even saw him impress the man he needs to most.
"Good is probably a huge understatement. He has been outstanding, when he got the ball [tonight] he did some damage," Storm coach Craig Bellamy said.
"He is playing really well, really confident. He is a really intelligent guy and he just looks like he loves that contact, put that down with the speed he's got, that is quite remarkable.
"We just want him to keep going, not coach him too much and just keep letting him do what he's doing and I imagine Cameron [Smith] and the boys are really enjoy playing with him."
With 12 minutes to play Sebastine Ikahihifo would cross for his maiden NRL try to keep things interesting only for Koroibete to fittingly lay the icing on the purple cake.
Melbourne Storm 30 (Marika Koroibete 2, Mahe Fonua, Will Chambers, Tim Glasby tries; Cam Smith 5 goals) Defeated New Zealand Warriors 14 (Manu Vatuvei, Nathan Friend, Sebastine Ikahihifo tries; Shaun Johnson goal). Crowd: 18,179.