First-half blitz sets up Storm win over Warriors
Melbourne Storm were at their points-scoring best as they overwhelmed the New Zealand Warriors by posting an incredible 50-10 win in the traditional Anzac Day clash at AAMI Park.
But the commanding win was soured by centre Curtis Scott limping off the field with the help of trainers midway through the second half.
The right ankle injury could rob Scott of the chance to face off against St George Illawarra centre Euan Aitken at Jubilee Oval next round in what could be a NSW Origin trial.
Otherwise the Storm were on fire completing an eight-tries-to-two shutdown of the competition co-leaders.
What was billed as a blockbuster clash only served to remind the rest of the Telstra Premiership how good the Storm could be in their most polished performance of the year.
Whereas the Storm lifted their intensity and produced an up-tempo start, the tentative Warriors pressured themselves into early errors.
And boy, did Melbourne capitalise.
Match: Storm vs Warriors
Venue: AAMI Park
- Fox League
- LIVE PASS
It was Scott who found a gap down the left flank before Billy Slater kicked to the right and Young Tonumaipea kicked back to the left for Ryley Jacks to open the scoring in fine style.
Ten minutes later, Ryan Hoffman pounced on a Cameron Munster kick in the corner. Then the Storm really did kick into gear.
Munster slipped a simple pass to Christian Welch who crossed untouched. From the kick-off, the home side shifted it to Scott who again broke the line and Slater registered his 187th career try.
Felise Kaufusi fended and stepped down the right flank off the next restart and found Tonumaipea, who was deputising for the injured Suliasi Vunivalu, to grab his first of 2018.
The Storm made their first error - a Will Chambers knock-on - after 13 sets and everyone caught their breath. But for New Zealand fans, it would be short-lived.
Josh Addo-Carr made an 80-metre dash from dummy half - beating five defenders - and outpaced Warriors captain Roger Tuivasa-Sheck for the Storm's sixth try of the first half.
Going into the sheds at 38-0, the stats made for decisive reading. The Warriors missed 25 tackles to the Storm's four and even their veterans, like Simon Mannering, pushed low-percentage plays.
Whatever Warriors coach Stephen Kearney said at half-time worked initially as they began with energy and poise.
They finally cracked the Storm defence when winger David Fusitu'a crossed on the right edge for his ninth try this year.
Tuivasa-Sheck stepped his way on a 40-metre run that almost produced another score for the Warriors winger as the visitors had almost 10 minutes inside the Storm's red zone.
But Cameron Smith's team showed their defensive strength despite the Warriors best efforts.
Fusitu'a grabbed his second try with another diving effort to give his team a boost but the Storm replied through Addo-Carr in the corner with less than 20 minutes to play.
The remainder of the half ebbed and flowed as fatigue hit both teams after the high-tempo early stages.
But the Storm found one last play for the sell-out crowd as a Munster break led to Jacks scoring his second.