Jeff Dickinson-Fox reviews the campaign which saw Melbourne Storm crowned premiers in 2017.
3 days ago
Melbourne made the most of its final home game of the year comprehensively thrashing the Panthers as Storm fans farewelled Richard Swain, Matt Rua and Shane Walker.
All three had an impact in the victory along with centre Aaron Moule who completed a classy hat-trick to take him to equal second on the NRL's list of leading try scorers with 16 for the year.
Melbourne dominated play from the outset laying on two quick tries to Moule in the opening six minutes, from there the home side was never challenged and probably could have put on several more points had it made the most of excellent field position.
Steven Bell followed up his double last week against the Cowboys with two more tries and coupled with Moule in the centres posed problems for the visitors all afternoon.
Perhaps more importantly the Storm backed up its go forward with some of the most aggressive defence the competition has seen all season with the Melbourne forwards not allowing Penrith any room to move.
“Apart from what we did with the footy I was really pleased with our defence, we haven't done that for quite some time,” explained Storm coach Mark Murray.
“When you've got a side going 20 meters in five tackles and kick returns on the 50 metre line it's a pretty healthy way to play footy.”