Melbourne Storm 52
Tries: Cooper Cronk 2, Kevin Proctor 2, Marika Korobiete 2, Tohu Harris, Blake Green, Mahe Fonua, Richard Kennar
Goals: Cameron Smith 6
Field Goals: nil
Penrith Panthers 10
Tries: Robert Jennings, Tyrone Peachey
Goals: Jamie Soward
Field Goals: nil
Cameron Smith has capped 300 National Rugby League appearances with a match winning performance as the Melbourne Storm annihilated Penrith Panthers 52-10 at AAMI Park in front of 11,956 fans.
Smith set up two tries and kicked six from ten as the Storm ended their four game losing streak in brutal fashion.
Penrith were always on the back foot after Bryce Cartwright lost the ball within the first ninety seconds. That was the catalyst for a night where they failed to apply any pressure and were dominated all over the park.
After five minutes the Storm had their first of ten tries for the evening when Smith kicked over the top for Cooper Cronk on his way to a double. Tohu Harris barged over from close range as they raced out to 10-0 in as many minutes.
A touch of controversy with Kevin Proctor’s try where it appeared Isaah Yeo held up the Storm forward before a second lunge was rewarded by the video officials. At the twenty-five minute mark Blake Green’s kick for Marika Korobiete put the Storm up 20-0.
Isaah Yeo’s professional foul in bringing down Cronk chasing a kick through was lucky not to be a penalty try with only Jamie Soward with a small chance of preventing the try. Cronk was to be rewarded as he stepped his way over moments later and Melbourne on the back of 62% possession were up 26-0 at the half time break.
To Penrith’s credit their second half was a slight improvement on the first half. There was more intent in their game in the initial stages of the second half despite the scoreline well against them. However the Storm continued their procession with Korobiete taking Jamie Soward’s final tackle kick and beat some weak defence to score. When Blake Green scored eleven minutes after the break untouched the home side were 36-0 up.
A spectacular dive in the corner from Waqa Blake posted Penrith’s first points for the night and it was soon followed with some quick feet by Will Smith to set up Tyrone Peachey posting the visitor’s second try.
Mahe Fonua, Proctor and Richard Kinnear all posted tries in the final ten minutes as Cooper Cronk was rested with the game well in control by the Storm.
Penrith’s heavy defeat is a huge dent in their 2015 finals aspirations. The horrible injury toll continued this week with Dallin Watene-Zelezniak’s puncture lung requiring surgery. Next Sunday’s home match against Canberra could be the last throw of the dice for Ivan Cleary’s men as we enter the final six rounds of the competition. Will Smith and Robert Jennings tried hard in defeat.
Melbourne’s big win temporarily moves them to fourth spot on the ladder and the big win boosts their differential to +68. They can consolidate a top four spot with a win over St George-Illawarra Dragons at AAMI Park next Saturday. Cooper Cronk had ice on his knee when leaving the field early but it appears more precautionary.