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Fulltime score: Round 1 STORM 48 v KNIGHTS 10
Match summary: The Melbourne Storm have crushed the Newcastle Knights 48-10 at Olympic Park this afternoon.
It was a less than ideal result for Knights' skipper Andrew Johns, playing his comeback match after missing most of 2004 after injuring his knee.
With hooker Danny Buderus and five-eighth Kurt Gidley missing, as well as 'Joey' Johns putting in a listless display, the Knights had few attacking options.
The Storm comprehensively outplayed the Knights, running nine tries to two, full back Billy Slater bagging a hat-trick while half back Matt Orford scored a double.
After posying a 22-0 lead at halftime, Melbourne increased their lead to 32-0 before the Knights finally got on the scoreboard in the 59th minute.
Score details: STORM 48 Tries: B Slater 3, M Orford 2, R Hoffman, J Webster, B White, C Cronk Goals: Orford 4/7, Geyer 2/2 KNIGHTS 10 Tries: D Cooper 2 Goals: Johns 1/2
Olympic Park Melbourne Referee: Steve Clark
By the clock: PROGRAM CHANGES: Storm - as per program Knights - 18 Daniel ABRAHAM replaces 17 Daniel TOLAR
PRE-MATCH: As NRL Sunday continues, fans continue to come through the gates at a very hot and steamy Olympic Park Melbourne this afternoon. Kick-off is not too far off - bring on the footy!
0 min: Kick-off at Olympic! Temperature gauge pushing 35 degrees centigrade in Melbourne.
2 min: NEWS- Carmont has knocked Orford down following an in-play kick, Orford is down. Play continues as Orford gets to his feet. Score stands at 0-0.
6 min: TRY- Storm. Ryan Hoffman goes in for Melbourne, untouched in the end. Try converted by M Orford. Storm 6-0.
8 min: Brilliant 40-20 kick for the Storm puts them in superb field position.
10 min: TRY- Storm. Jake Webster is on the end of a wonderful wide movement after the Storm were held up over the line. Great start from the Victorian troopers. Conversion missed from Orford. Storm 10-0.
12 min: TRY- Storm. Billy Slater gets his first of many in a runaway try for Melbourne right from the start of play. Orford converts, Storm now 16-0.
22 min: The game is now evening out a little, however the Storm continue to dominate in unbearably hot conditions.
25 min: Storm defence still holding as Knights begin to exhaust attacking options close to the line. Score remains Storm 16-0.
35 min: TRY- Storm. Slater bags a double after the viedo referee check for him being onside from a Matt King left foot kick. Knights looking dead and buried already. Orford converts and now Storm are up 22-0.
38 min: NO TRY- Ball ruled to be grounded on the line - Knights get 20 metre restart as a result. Storm lead 22-0.
40 min: Some exciting play to finish off the half from both sides but no points.
HALFTIME. Melbourne Storm 22 Newcastle Knights 0.
44 min: SIN BIN- Knights. King makes a break for Storm, Hughes and Hall drag him down. Hall is injured in the process while from the ensuing play the ball Hughes commits a professional foul. Newcastle now with 12 men for 10 minutes. Storm 22 Knights Nil.
45 min: TRY- Storm. Brett White bullocks over, reaches out, and scores on debut. Orford converts and Newcastle fans look ready to pack up and hit the road. Storm 28-0.
46 min: TRY- Storm. Orford goes over and then fails to convert his own very easy try. Storm 32-0.
51 min: Storm just running rings around the Knights at the moment, simple effective footy being played at the moment.
59 min: TRY- Knights. Dustin Cooper scores as a result of some perseverence and patience football from Newcastle close to the Storm line. Johns' conversion goes wide and Newcastle now trail 32-4.
63 min: TRY- Knights. Cooper double. Newcastle adding some more respectability to their score as Johns seems to be coming into his own. Johns converts beautifully and the score now goes to Storm 32-10.
67 min: TRY- Storm. Orford gets his second for Melbourne, getting around Johns to put it down. Conversion failed - Storm now quash any miracle comeback thoughts and lead 36-10.
72 min: NO TRY- Cooper denied a hat-trick after the video ref rules he took out the corner post before grounding. Storm still lead 36-10.
76 min: TRY- Storm. Slater grabs his hat-trick with an Origin-04-esque try close to the posts. Geyer converts and Storm up 42-10 now.
79 min: TRY-Storm. Cronk gets one with a minute to go. Geyer converts and the Storm will finish just two points short of 50, and rise to the top of the ladder as a result. Storm 48-10.
FULLTIME Melbourne Storm 48 Newcastle Knights 10.
----------------------------------------- Leagueunlimited.com players of the match: 3 - M Orford (Storm) 2 - B Slater (Storm) 1 - D Cooper (Knights) -----------------------------------------