A stellar performance from the Melbourne Storm saw them convincingly defeat the Penrith Panthers 32-2 at Carrington Park on Saturday night.
Multiple handling errors in the opening exchanges set the tone for what would be a scrappy affair from both teams. A penalty to the Panthers in the sixth minute gave James Maloney the opportunity to open the scoring and put the Panthers out to a 2-0 lead. Despite having successive attacking sets on the Storm’s line, the Panthers were unable to capitalise on their field position or disorientate the Storm’s defence. Fumbles from both Dylan Edwards and Dallin Watene-Zelezniak in their in-goal resulted in Cameron Munster pouncing on the loose ball and scoring the Storm’s first try (4-2). It wasn’t until the 35th minute that the next set of points came, in the form of a Storm penalty goal. It was this kick from Cameron Smith that sent the Storm into half time with a six point lead (8-2).
A handling error from the Panthers in the 44th minute set the foundation for the Storm’s second try, courtesy of a slicing run from halfback Brodie Croft (14-8). Following two strong attacking sets, the Storm utilised their momentum to create space and send Josh Addo-Carr over in the left-hand corner (20-8). Any chance of a miracle comeback from the Panthers was squashed in the 69th minute, when an agile Marion Seve stepped his way past four defenders to score his first NRL try (26-8). The Storm’s lead increased to 20 points following a successful penalty goal conversion, before front rower Jesse Bromwich capped off the masterclass with a brilliant, powerful try. The Storm made it three in a row in spectacular fashion, trumping the struggling Panthers 32-2.
Storm’s Success Continues
As expected, the Storm carried their momentum from rounds one and two into this clash. The Storm’s ability to restrict the Panthers from scoring and continually frustrate them into errors exemplified why they are considered the best defensive team in the competition. Their refined attacking structures were the primary contributor to their second half blitz, in which they scored 24 unanswered points.
Poor Discipline Costs Panthers
Despite looking ominous in the opening exchanges, the Panthers reverted to old habits and made error after error. The constant stoppages made it extremely difficult for the Panthers to get their attack flowing and mount any pressure on the Storm’s defence. Their 17 errors primarily consisted of forward passes, knock-ons and incorrect play the balls – all of which are simple skills that they train so hard to perfect. Their poor completion rate and number of unnecessary penalties came back to haunt them in the end.
A terrific individual performance from five-eighth Cameron Munster saw him score a try, have a hand in two others, execute three one-on-one strips and make 31 tackles. His effort, in both attack and defence, was instrumental in the Storm’s go-forward. If Munster can replicate this round three performance in the coming weeks, the Storm will have a great opportunity to continue their dominance.
Not Dylan’s Day
In what was a torrid affair for the Panthers, fullback Dylan Edwards felt the brunt – having a performance he would rather forget. Contributing six of the Panthers’ 17 errors and falling victim to two one-on-one strips, Edwards was unable to immerse himself in the game and exhibit the attacking brilliance he is renowned for. If the Panthers are to make amends and secure victory in round four against the Wests Tigers, they must improve their error rate and team cohesion.
Penrith Panthers 2
Goals: James Maloney
Melbourne Storm 32
Tries: Cameron Munster, Brodie Croft, Josh Addo-Carr, Marion Seve, Jesse Bromwich
Goals: Cameron Smith 6
Penrith Panthers: 1 Dylan Edwards, 2 Josh Mansour, 3 Dean Whare, 4 Waqa Blake, 5 Dallin Watene-Zelezniak, 6 James Maloney, 7 Nathan Cleary, 8 James Tamou, 9 Sione Katoa, 16 Moses Leota, 11 James Fisher-Harris, 12 Frank Winterstein, 13 Hame Sele. Interchange: 10 Reagan Campbell-Gillard, 14 Wayde Egan, 15 Tyrell Fuimaono, 21 Liam Martin.
Melbourne Storm: 1 Jahrome Hughes, 2 Suliasi Vunivalu, 3 Will Chambers, 4 Curtis Scott, 5 Josh Addo-Carr, 6 Cameron Munster, 7 Brodie Croft, 8 Jesse Bromwich, 9 Cameron Smith, 10 Nelson Asofa-Solomona, 11 Felise Kaufusi, 12 Kenneath Bromwich, 13 Dale Finucane. Interchange: 14 Brandon Smith, 15 Christian Welch, 16 Tui Kamikamica, 17 Marion Seve.