Dragons march on in the NYC
Dragons halfback Jackson Willis played a starring role with a hat-trick and a try assist as the Red V proved too strong for the Storm with a 46-24 win in the Holden Cup.
The Dragons got off to the perfect start with Joe Lovodua making the most of his promotion to the run-on side to open the scoring after he reacted first to a towering bomb that was allowed to hit the deck.
Melbourne quickly worked their way back into the contest and were rewarded with back-rower Dale Madden crashing over off a short ball out of dummy-half to level the scores.
The Storm continued to pepper the opposition line and looked certain to score until Reuben Garrick plucked an intercept and raced 90 metres to give his side a 12-6 lead against the run of play.
The visitors didn't have to wait long for a response with Sale Finau bashing his way over in the left corner after a well-executed sixth-tackle shortside raid only for the Dragons to hit back through Jackson Willis to give the Red V an 18-10 lead.
That's how the first half should have ended but there was time for one last sting in the tale as the Dragons showed some razzle-dazzle from a 20-metre tap to extend their lead through Willis who backed up to make it 22-10 at the break.
The hosts pushed further in front courtesy of a Zac Lomax penalty goal six minutes into the second stanza before Willis backed up a midfield break to complete his hat-trick.
When he wasn't scoring them, Willis was playing the role of provider as he chipped through early in the count to set up Jason Gillard for another try to give the Dragons a 24-point lead.
The Storm managed to peg one back through Harlan Collins who spectacularly planted the ball in the right corner after a brilliant cut-out pass from Cory Parker but any thoughts of a miracle comeback were put to bed when Tristan Sailor raced away to put the result beyond doubt.
The home side should have moved further in front when Willis audaciously kicked on the zero tackle from a midfield scrum with no one at home, only for teammate Dylan Morris to toe the ball dead when all he had to do was wait for the bounce.
Instead, Melbourne narrowed the gap through tries to Jacob Tonge and Matt Egan to give the scoreline some respectability before Garrick reeled in a kick to complete the comfortable win.
Dragons 46 (Jackson Willis 3, Reuben Garrick 2, Joe Lovodua, Jason Gillard, Tristan Sailor tries; Zac Lomax 7 goals) def. Storm 24 (Dale Madden, Sale Finau, Harlan Collins, Jacob Tonge, Matt Egan tries; Jesse Arthars 2 goals) at WIN Stadium. Half-time: 22-10