Melbourne Storm ran riot over the Newcastle Knights as the home side slumped to last spot on the ladder.
Newcastle Knights 2
Goal: Jake Clifford (40)
Melbourne Storm 50
Tries: Justin Olam 2 (2, 29), Xavier Coates 3 (7, 36, 42), Jahrome Hughes (21), Tepai Moeroa (54), Nick Meaney (60), Cameron Munster (72)
Goals: Ryan Papenhuyzen 7 (3, 29, 37, 56, 60, 72, 77)
MATCH REPORTEmbed from Getty Images
The Newcastle Knights couldn’t have started the game any worse with Jake Clifford kicking out on the full from the kick-off. This was the catalyst for an eleven-minute period where the Storm had 100% possession and put the Knights to well behind the pace in scoring twice.
Melbourne’s intent to offload and keep the ball alive in the early stages was an ominous sign for the Knights.
Combined with Newcastle’s poor line defence, the Storm were over after two minutes through Justin Olam.
The Storm scored their second try with Xavier Coates finishing a play from a scrum win after Harry Grant kept the ball alive.
When the Knights did get the ball for the first time, their final tackle kick from Clifford went sailing over the touchline on the full.
Melbourne continued to dominate and was certain to score with the overlap to the left, but some excellent defence by Kalyn Ponga prevented a try to Nick Meaney in the corner.
Their lead would be extended to fourteen points when Jahrome Hughes grounded the ball following Coates’ kicked back inside as they shifted the ball from left to right on the final tackle.
Olam was in for his second with a run from twenty metres out where he broke through some pedestrian Knights defence on his way to the line.
When Coates added his second for the afternoon four minutes from the break, Melbourne had five tries on the board and led 26-0.
Clifford’s penalty goal on half-time got the Knights on the board, but hid their underlying lack of confidence, poor completion rate at 61% and missing 24 tackles in defence.
They also lost Sauaso Sue to concussion in the opening stages, while Tyson Frizell was placed on report for a crusher tackle.
HALF-TIME: Newcastle Knights 2 Melbourne Storm 26Embed from Getty Images
Newcastle started the second half as good as the first, letting the ball bounce dead in goal to concede a line drop-out.
As a result, and after a soft obstruction call against Brodie Jones, the Melbourne scoring resumed as Coates crossed for his hat-trick.
Newcastle’s general play continued to suffer and was demonstrated by a last tackle kick out of dummy half from Chris Randall around half-way, floating ten metres and captured by the Storm front-line defence.
The Melbourne scoring resumed fourteen minutes in with Harry Grant’s last tackle kick hitting the right uprights and was grounded by Tepai Moeroa.
Former Knight Nick Meaney was the recipient of a long pass from Cameron Munster as the Storm reached 40 points.
Munster got on the board as the Storm shifted left to Meaney who scooted down the sideline before finding his skipper back on the inside.
Ryan Papenhuyzen converted a penalty goal late to close the scoring for the afternoon with the Storm comfortable victors 50-2.
Newcastle desperately needs to go back to basics with their completion rate and defence no better in the last forty.
FULL-TIME: Newcastle Knights 2 Melbourne Storm 50
PLAYER OF THE YEAR POINTSEmbed from Getty Images
3 pts – Justin Olam (Storm), 2 pts – Xavier Coates (Storm), 1 pt – Harry Grant (Storm)
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