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Storm winger Matt Duffie made his long-awaited return from injury against the Dragons on Saturday.

The scoreboard may have read like a walk in the park but by the time the hooter blew on Saturday, Melbourne knew they had played a game of footy.

After nearly falling behind early against St George Illawarra, the Storm scored immediately after a disallowed Dragons try and didn't look back on their way to a 22-4 win in front of an adopted home crowd in Napier, New Zealand.


It result marked back-to-back impressive wins for Melbourne, following last week's 52-10 demolition of Penrith, and they now appear to have steadied the ship after appearing on shaky ground only a fortnight ago when they had lost four games in a row.

But Saturday's win now has them back in the top-four hunt with a favourable month ahead that sees them play the bottom three sides of the competition.

Given the Dragons went into the match on a six-game slide of their own, Melbourne were expecting a fired-up opposition and in their eyes that is exactly what they got.

"To me, it felt like they were playing for their season tonight, the Dragons," Storm captain Cameron Smith said.

"I actually thought they dominated the first part of the match, for the first 15 minutes until we started getting a fair bit of field position and the ball.

"I know they have been going through a fairly rough patch… but you could tell with their energy and particularly their defence, they were here to get two points on the premiership ladder."

It was the Storm's ability to weather any threat the Dragons could muster that most pleased their skipper.

"To our boys' credit we took a lot of punishment early, we had to do some really hard work particularly off our own try line and held them out for 75 minutes of the game," Smith said.

"That is a really good result for our team and coming off last week's win, but we just need to keep building on that."

Acknowledgement of Country

National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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