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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.
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
Halftime: Penrith Panthers 10 Melbourne Storm 22
Leagueunlimited.com players of the match:
3 Points - Billy Slater
2 Points - Cooper Cronk (1 Try)
1 Point - Justin O'Neill (3 Tries)
PENRITH PANTHERS (10)
Tries: Etu Uaisele, Josh Mansour
Conversions: Blake Austin (1/2)
MELBOURNE STORM (44)
Tries: Cooper Cronk, Ryan Hoffman, Will Chambers, Ryan Hinchcliffe, Justin O'Neill (3), Matt Duffie
Conversions: Cameron Smith (5/7), Gareth Widdop (1/1)
LeagueUnlimited.com 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.
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.
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.