ICYMI, on Thursday the @NRL - National Rugby League released the 2018 #NRLDraw.
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Penrith Panthers 18 v Melbourne Storm 40
at Hindmarsh Stadium, Adelaide
Referees: Tony Archer
The Melbourne Storm have thrashed the Penrith Panthers 40-18 at Hindmarsh Stadium in Adelaide this evening.
Melbourne ran riot over the Panthers in the second half after going to the break with a two point lead. With a strong breeze at their back in the second half, the Panthers should have hit back to win the match but the Storm made light work of the Panthers with rookie Greg Inglis scoring a hat trick and extending his 2006 total to six tries. Inglis was well supported by Cameron Smith and Mick Crocker, with both players having impressive games and both players would have given the Queensland selectors something to think about with representative season looming large on the horizon.
The Panthers on the other hand were very flat with only Lee Hookey showing signs of promise by bagging a hat trick. Craig Gower was off his game after last weeks injury but his forwards failed to lay the platform to give Gower and his back room to work with.
In the end, the Storm were far too strong for a flat Panthers outfit.
Penrith Panthers: 18
Tries: Danny Galea, Lee Hookey(3)
Goals: Preston Campbell 1/4
Melbourne Storm: 40
Tries: Michael Crocker, Ryan Hoffman, Greg Inglis(3), Matt King, Cameron Smith
Goals: Cameron Smith 6/8
By the Clock:
5 min: TRY Melbourne Storm
Matt King opens the Storm's scoring with a great first up try.
13 min: PENALTY GOAL Melbourne Storm
Cameron Smith edges the Storm out to a six point lead still early in the first half.
17 min: TRY Melbourne Storm
Cameron Smith scores an easy try adjacent to the posts after receiving a nice inside ball from Cooper Cronk. Conversion successful
20 min: NEWS Mick Crocker from the Storm and Tony Puletua from the Panthers both on the sidelines with injury although Puletua may return after a piankilling needle to a rib injury.
20 min: NEWS Melbourne have a very strong breeze at their back but if they keep playing the way they are, the second half advantage to the Panthers will be meaningless. Melbourne by far the better team in the first quarter of the match.
25 min: NEWS Penrith starting to show a little more urgency in defence with the Panthers forcing some errors out of the Storm. Still no change to the score.
30 min: NEWS Cooper Cronk kicks a great 40/20 to have the Storm on attack ten metres out from the Panthers line.
35 min: TRY Penrith Panthers
The Panthers get on the board through a try to centre Danny Galea. Penrith had sustained pressure on the Melbourne line and the Storm cracked in the end with Galea scoring out wide. Conversion unsuccessful.
39 min: TRY Penrith Panthers
Lee Hookey scores out wide with a minute to go before half time to get the Panthers right back into the match and with a big breeze at their back in the second half, they can feel confident about their chances.
45 min: NEWS Both teams have had scoring chances early in the second half but neither side has managed to put points on the board.
53 min: TRY Melbourne Storm
Ryan Hoffman does a hit and spin at the Panthers line and was far too strong for the Panthers defence.
56 min: NEWS Rhys Wesser knocks on a David Kidwell grubber two metres from his own line to give the Storm another great opportunity to extend their lead.
60 min: TRY Melbourne Storm
Contentious try awarded to the Storm which looked to me like an obstruction but the cideo ref and I rarely see eye to eye. Conversion successful. Greg Inglis was the scorer.
65 min: TRY Melbourne Storm
Inglis gets a double and his fifth for the year as the Storm stitch this one up and leave Adealide with a valuable two points.
67 min: TRY Melbourne Storm
Inglis gets a hat trick for the night and his sixth for the year. A very good bet to be among the leading tryscorers at the end of the year. Penrith have gone to pieces in the past five minutes.
68 min: TRY Melbourne Storm
Crocker scores under the posts to really rub salt into the Panthers wounds. The Panthers have been terrible in the second half.
76 min: TRY Penrith Panthers
Hookey scores a consolation try to give the scoreline a little respectability.
79 min: TRY Penrith Panthers
Lee Hookey gets a hat trick to cap off a good night for him personally, but not so good for the Panthers.
Leagueunlimited.com players of the match:
3 - Greg Inglis (Storm)
2 - Cameron Smith (Storm)
1 - Lee Hookey (Panthers)