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The Melbourne Storm might not have been playing for competition points at Ethihad Stadium this evening. They were playing for their fans, they were playing for pride. It seemed enough as the side put a near faultless display to pummel an awful Warriors side 40-6.
The two sides aimed up in defence early, but penalties and errors were all over the place. A no-look pass from Cooper Cronk in the 15th minute sent captain Cameron Smith over for the opening try, opening up what was going to be a major floodgate.
A few minutes later debutant Matt Duffie went over the line, but also went over the sideline. It didn't matter as he went over again, this time to score his first NRL try, setting the score to 10-0.
The Warriors were starting to give up in defence. The defenders enabled a tackled Cooper Cronk to set up Adam Blair. Cronk continued his dominant game minutes later, sending Brett Finch over.
A late Ben Matulino charge was pretty much the moment of the half for the Warriors, who went to the sheds trailing 22-0.
Cronk wasn't finished yet. Early in the second half he sent Billy Slater through, to send Matt Duffie over for his second. The pair were in the centre of attention moments later, combining to send William Isa over moments later.
The score 34-0, the Warriors given up.
The Storm upped the ante again, going for some real attacking football. Duffie went over the line for a fourth time, denied for a second. Slater took a Cronk grubber soon after to stretch the lead.
Storm prop Brett White had his moments of madness coming up, with an elbow hitting a luckless Michael Luck, putting him on report.
After a Tate break excited the Warriors fans still there, Ukuma Ta'ai finally scored their first with roughly 90 seconds left.
It didn't change much, Melbourne dominant from start to finish.
Melbourne Storm 40 defeated New Zealand Warriors 6
National Rugby League - NRL - Round 7 - Sunday April 25, 2010 6:00pm
Venue: Etihad Stadium
Referee: Gavin Badger and Brett Suttor
Video Referee: Chris Ward
Touch Judges: David Abood and Dave Munro
Halftime: Melbourne Storm 22 New Zealand Warriors 0
Leagueunlimited.com players of the match:
3 Points - Cooper Cronk
2 Points - Matt Duffie (2 Tries)
1 Point - Billy Slater (1 Try)
MELBOURNE STORM (40)
Tries: Billy Slater, Cameron Smith, Adam Blair, William Isa, Matt Duffie (2), Ryan Tandy
Conversions: Cameron Smith (6/7)
NEW ZEALAND WARRIORS (6)
Tries: Ukuma Ta'ai
Conversions: James Maloney (1/1)
LeagueUnlimited.com Live Commentary Well, you would have to say this would be the most anticipated match (for this early in the season at least) for a very long time. The Storm will be hoping to begin their new dynasty, and it starts with a match against the Warriors, a side they have always had an amazing rivalry with.
TOYOTA CUP - NEW ZEALAND WARRIORS 46 (Carlos Tuimavave 2, Zensei Inu, Elijah Niko, Nafetalai Seluini, James Te Pou, Siuatonga Likiliki, Glen Fisiiahi tries, Carlos Tuimavave 7/8 goals) def. MELBOURNE STORM 22 (Blake Leary 2, Jordan McLean, Kenny Bromwich tries, Jake Hawkins 3/4 goals)
MELBOURNE STORM - Matt Duffie comes in for Luke MacDougall, Willie Isa comes in for Dane Nielsen, Gareth Widdop comes in for Greg Inglis, Brett White comes in for Kevin Proctor. Norrie and Lowrie to start, Lima and Hinchcliffe on the bench.
NEW ZEALAND WARRIORS - Russell Packer to start, Jesse Royal on the bench.
1 min: Early mistake from Maloney.
5 min: Mistake, here comes the Warriors.
6 min: And the Warriors concede a penalty through obstruction.
11 min: Storm receive back-to-back sets, thanks to Hoffman.
14 min: The two sides really going for it.
16 min: TRY
Cameron Smith goes over first after a Cronk pass. Ordinary defence too.
Melbourne Storm 6-0
21 min: Duffie with a possible try on debut. Up to the video ref.
22 min: Foot in touch. Bad luck.
24 min: With a Ropati error, Storm come up with it.
26 min: TRY
Duffie scores anyway, thanks to a perfect Cronk pass. The Storm playing with determination.
Melbourne Storm 10-0
32 min: TRY
Blair crashes over, the Storm are playing great. Try telling these players that a win wont be worth points, they're playing with all the determination in the world.
Melbourne Storm 16-0
35 min: TRY
They're in again. A Cronk kick finds Finch, who squeezes a nice pass for Tandy.
Melbourne Storm 22-0
37 min: Matulino straight through...but gives the ball back to the Storm through Tandy.
40 min: That is half-time, the Storm up 22-0. Amazing half.
40 min: Second half underway.
45 min: Tough start for the second half. Warriors hoping to stay in this.
48 min: TRY
Maybe not anymore. Duffie is in for his second.
Melbourne Storm 28-0
51 min: TRY
Another simple one as Willie Isa scores. Storm wont lose from here.
Melbourne Storm 34-0
60 min: They may not have scored in the last few minutes, but Melbourne are playing brilliant attacking football.
61 min: Crowd - 23,906
66 min: Is Duffie over again? Video ref checking.
66 min: No try, went over the sideline. Duffie has been over the line a few times on his promising debut.
67 min: Massive hit from Matulino on Cronk!
68 min: TRY
Slater takes a grubber with amazing skill to score. Too easy.
Melbourne Storm 40-0
72 min: Brett White on report, a few nasty moments coming into this game.
75 min: Tate makes a major break, but Slater forces an error. Nothing going right for the Warriors.
77 min: TRY
Ta'ai over for a late consolation try.
Melbourne Storm 40-6
80 min: With all the possession and all the metres, the Storm were never going to lose this. Fulltime, 40-6 Storm.