Sensational Storm smash Panthers

The Melbourne Storm have extended their winning streak to nine with a 44-10 thrashing of the Penrith Panthers in front of a 9517 crowd at Centrebet Stadium.

Not even the return of hard working hooker Kevin Kingston was enough for the Panthers as Justin O'Neill scored a hat-trick of tries in a clinical Storm performance. 

It took the competition favourites only ten minutes to draw first blood through Matthew Duffie who scored courtesy of a Dane Nielsen offload. 

Despite leading by six, the Storm were not sitting pretty early in the match. A penalty to the homeside in the 12th minute was all they needed to hit back, with Luke Lewis creating a try for Josh Mansour. Blake Austin added the extras to level the score.
The Panthers stole the lead only five minute later, with late-addition Ete Uaisele scoring in the corner. 

Uaisele's try was to be the last points for the Panther for the evening as the Storm kicked it up a notch. Cooper Cronk leveled the scores in the 23rd minute as he took three defenders with him over the line. 

Ryan Hoffman muscled his way over 10 minutes later to give his side the lead and some Billy Slater brilliance seconds out from half-time saw O'Neill claim his first of three tries. 

The Storm got off to another shakey start in the second half, but the inability of the Panthers to capitalise, would prove costly for the home team as the Storm settled into the half. 

Back to back tries in the 50th and 53rd minute to O'Neill and Will Chambers saw the Storm lead extended to 24. 

After a quiet 15 minutes from both side, Cronk brought excitement back into the match with a 40/20 creating an opportunity for O'Neill to claim his third try in the 70th minute to take the Melbourne lead to 38-10.

However the Storm were not done ye, with Ryan Hinchcliffe scoring only a few minutes out from full-time on the back of a line break from Chambers.

While the scoreline suggest a clinical performance by the Storm, they were not always on top in the match, but their ability respond and dig dip when behind ensured they came out victors.

As for the Panthers, Ivan Cleary and Phil Gould have a tough job ahead of them with break downs in communication between their players proving costly throughout the match.

Match Details
Penrith Panthers 10 were defeated by Melbourne Storm 44
National Rugby League - Round 9 - Saturday May 5, 2012 7:30pm
Venue: Centrebet Stadium, Penrith
Referee: Steve Lyons and Henry Perenara
Video Referee: Rod Lawrence
Touch Judges: Luke Potter and Dave Ryan
Crowd: 0
Halftime: Penrith Panthers 10 Melbourne Storm 22 players of the match:
3 Points - Billy Slater
2 Points - Cooper Cronk (1 Try)
1 Point - Justin O'Neill (3 Tries)

Tries: Etu Uaisele, Josh Mansour
Conversions: Blake Austin (1/2)

Tries: Cooper Cronk, Ryan Hoffman, Will Chambers, Ryan Hinchcliffe, Justin O'Neill (3), Matt Duffie
Conversions: Cameron Smith (5/7), Gareth Widdop (1/1) Live Commentary Good evening folks and welcome to Centrebet Stadium where the Penrith Panthers host the undefeated Melbourne Storm.
Ivan Cleary has made several changes to the Panthers' line up. Kevin Kingston makes his return and will start in the hooker position with Travis Burns moving back to the halfback position, Luke Walsh has been dropped. David Simmons and Brad Tighe also drop out of the side with Etu Uaisele and Josh Mansour starting on the wings. Clint Newton also comes off the bench to start in the second row.
For the Storm, Jason Ryles moves into the starting side with Jesse Bromwich shifting to the bench. Rory Kostjasyn is out of the side and Anthony Quin makes his return.
1 min: Cameron Smith kicks off to bring the match underway.
2 min: Cooper Cronk sends a kick out on the full ten short of half way. Penrith will have a chance to go on the attack.
4 min: Billy Slater has no problem cleaning up Tavis Burns' kick.
4 min: The Storm receive a penalty and will have a full set a few meters their side of halfway.
5 min: Gareth Widdop is pinned for a forward pass 40 meters out from the Penrith line. Pretty messy start by the competition leaders so far.
6 min: Burns loses the ball 15 out from the Storm line.
8 min: The Storm will get a penalty 30 out from the Panthers' line.
9 min: Possible try to Matt Duffie for the Storm.
11 min: TRY
TRY! Dane Nielsen is pounced on by three Penrith players but they fail to bring him down and he offloads to Duffie five out from the tryline who scores. Smith adds the extras.
Melbourne Storm 6-0
12 min: Penrith get a penalty and will start a set of six only 30 out from the Storm line.
14 min: TRY
TRY! Josh Mansour scores in the corner courtesy of some quick hands by Luke Lewis. Blake Austin's conversion attempt is successful.
6 all
16 min: Blake Austin kicks a 40/20.
17 min: Possible try to the Penrith here.
18 min: TRY
TRY! Etu Uaisele scores in the corner to give the Panthers the lead. Austin fails to convert the try.
Penrith Panthers 10-6
22 min: The Storm receive a penalty 10 out from the Panthers' line.
23 min: Cronk might have a try here.
25 min: TRY
TRY! Cronk takes the line on himself and takes three defenders with him over the line. Smith fails to add the extras.
10 all
29 min: Slater knocks on 15 out from his own line.
30 min: The Storm are off the hook after Lewis hands possession back to Melbourne.
31 min: Storm receive a penalty.
31 min: Austin attempts an intercept 20 out from his own line but knocks it on.
34 min: TRY
TRY! Cronk puts up a cross-field kick on the last and Duffie takes it in the air and quickly passes it to a charging Ryan Hoffman who scores. Smith's conversion attempt from the sideline is successful.
Melbourne Storm 16-10
37 min: Justin O'Neill knock 35 out from the Panthers' line.
38 min: The Storm have the ball again after a mistake from the Panthers.
39 min: Widdop spills the ball in a bone crunching tackle from Uaisele.
40 min: TRY
TRY! Slater gets the ball 10 out from his own line and runs it out to his 30 before kicking it, O'Neill picks it up 30 out and races away to score as the half-time hooter sounds. Smith adds the extras.
Melbourne Storm 22-10
41 min: Austin kicks off to bring the second half under way.
46 min: The Panther will receive a line drop out after Billy Slater is forced to bat a kick dead.
52 min: TRY
TRY! O'Neil makes a 90 meter run to score the first try of the half. Smith adds the extras.
Melbourne Storm 28-10
55 min: TRY
TRY! Slater busts up the Panthers defence 30 out from his own line, he makes it to the Panthers' 30 before offloading to Chambers who scores. Smith adds the extras.
Melbourne Storm 34-10
57 min: The Storm receive a penalty 30 out from their own line.
58 min: O'Neill throws the ball over the sideline 30 out from the Panthers' line.
61 min: The Storm will receive a line drop out.
62 min: Chambers is tackled over touch and the Panthers will get a scrum 10 out from their own line.
63 min: The Panthers receive a scrum penalty.
65 min: The Storm survive.
68 min: Cronk kicks a 40/20.
70 min: TRY
TRY! The Storm spread it out wide and O'Neill scores. Smith misses the conversion.
Melbourne Storm 38-10
78 min: TRY
TRY! The Storm make another break up the middle and Ryan Hinchcliffe scores for the Storm. Widdop adds the extras.
Melbourne Storm 44-10
80 min: The Storm will get one last chance to do some damage with a scrum 30 out from the Penrith line.
80 min: Cronks kicks to the corner but Coote has it covered and that's the ball game. The Melbourne Storm defeat the Penrith Panthers 44-10 for the theirs ninth win of the season.

Click Here to view the live update of the game. | To discuss the game with 1000s of other fans, please click here.