Matt Attard reviews the Sunday afternoon clash between Melbourne and Canterbury-Bankstown …
Melbourne Storm 44
Tries: Ryan Papenhuyzen 4 (10, 45, 51, 67), Josh King (21), Xavier Coates (59), Felise Kaufusi (61)
Goals: Ryan Papenhuyzen 6 (11, 21, 46, 60, 63, 67)
Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 0
MATCH REPORTEmbed from Getty Images
Ryan Papenhuyzen has scored four tries as Melbourne Storm gave the Bulldogs a masterclass in defence.
They held off a mountain of attacking sets early on while making it look easy with ball in hand down the other end of the field. Even with a bunch of errors and penalties, the home side looked to be in cruise control as they dominated last year’s wooden spooners.
After a promising start to the season, the work-in-progress Bulldogs were at their worst on Sunday afternoon, unable to muster a single point against one of the NRL heavyweights.
Fortress Melbourne welcomed a strong crowd as the home side looked to avoid back-to-back losses. The home side promoted former Bulldog Nick Meaney to the wing in place of Dean Ieremia prior to kick off.
For the Bulldogs, Jake Averillo was brought in to centre, his original position as a junior, in place of Aaron Schoupp. Brent Naden shifted to right wing, Averillo to left centre, and Burns to right centre.
After some big defence the Bulldogs found themselves with several sets in good position, although the closest they got to a try was when former Storm star Josh Addo-Carr was held up.
Just moments later the Storm were given their first chance in the opposition half and took it, with Xavier Coates offloading for Ryan Papenhuyzen to score out wide. He converted for a 6-0 lead.
The improved Bulldogs had plenty more chances in the opening 20 and peppered the Storm’s line but looked lost, much to the frustration of coach Trent Barrett and fans alike.
Two chances for two tries, it was Melbourne showing how to attack in the red zone as a Harry Grant grubber ricocheted perfectly for Josh King. Papenhuyzen converted for a 12-0 lead.
The effort was there but the difference in class was obvious, with the Bulldogs trying hard but still unable to impress with the ball in hand.
On the flip side, the Storm controlled proceedings well but the Bulldogs weren’t going away, forcing several goal-line drop outs, albeit for no points thanks to a handful of errors.
Melbourne cruised down field on the back of a penalty, with Kenny Bromwich slicing through some poor edge defence for a four pointer. Papenhuyzen missed the conversion and the score remained 16-0 at halftime.
HALF-TIME: Melbourne Storm 16 Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 0Embed from Getty Images
Hoping not to be held to nil, the Bulldogs came out firing and earned a penalty in their opening set. Once again they found themselves in great field position – and once again looked messy and disorganised.
More errors and set restarts from the visitors coupled with very soft goal-line defence saw Papenhuyzen grab his second from close range, crashing through some flimsy defence.
Just as they did all game, Melbourne dictated play and Jarome Hughes latched onto a Matt Burton grubber to race 80 metres, eventually passing to Papenhuyzen to touch down for his hat-trick.
Their next try came in familiar fashion, with Xavier Coates leaping on an error and racing 90 metres to score untouched. It was enough for a visibly angry Barrett to vent his frustrations in the coaching box.
The very next set Felise Kaifusi got in on the action, finishing a long range effort that was orchestrated by Papenhuyzen.
It was that man again crossing for his fourth try of the afternoon, this time from some nifty Grant-Hughes link up play.
It ended the scoring for what was a disastrous effort by the Bulldogs and a display of excellence by Papenhuyzen and the Storm.
FULL-TIME: Melbourne Storm 44 Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 0
PLAYER OF THE YEAR POINTSEmbed from Getty Images
3 pts – Ryan Papenhuyzen (Storm), 2 pts – Jarome Hughes (Storm), 1 pt – Harry Grant (Storm)
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