Melbourne Storm maintain their unbeaten start, accounting for a lackluster Penrith Panthers side 32-2 in front of 10,973 fans at Carrington Park in Bathurst.
They spent much of the first half defending their errors, but when they needed to turn on the class, Melbourne Storm showed why they will be contending again. They ran in five tries in a dominant second half against a Panthers side that couldn't get out of their own way tonight.
The opening forty was strewn with errors, as both sides struggled with cold, greasy conditions. Penrith did take their only lead of the contest in the fifth minute when James Maloney piloted home a penalty goal, despite the home side being camped in the Storm half for the first part of the contest. The attack fell victim to loose passes, bouncing balls and a dozen errors as the combinations didn't click in the central west.
Credit to the Storm - they turned up for each other in defence in the first half, making 30-plus tackles in their own red zone, before Cameron Munster swooped for the only try of the first half in a rare foray into the Panthers half. Captain Cameron Smith added a penalty goal in the 36th minute to make it an 8-2 half-time lead.
In the second half, it was one-way traffic for the Storm. They improved their handling, blowing away a dejected Panthers side. Brodie Croft scored the second try of the match from the boot tonight, before Josh Addo-Carr got his season scoring underway in a typical Melbourne movement, as the lead grew past 18 points.
A word for Marion Seve. The interchange forward showed some leg strength to drive through the Panthers defense and the celebration showed how much the youngster is embraced down south, in only his second NRL game, coming back from cancer. He was mobbed by the entire Storm side as they kept on their winning ways.
Jesse Bromwich added a late surging effort to blow the margin out to 30. Captain Smith also added six goals to inch with eight of matching Hazem El-Masri's all-time goal scoring record - another to add to the laundry list of accomplishments for the Storm talisman.
For the Panthers, in all three of their games they have looked hesitant. The attack, despite their wealth of possession in the first half didn't really threaten the Storm defenders, failing to score a try for the first time since 2017. The bus currently hasn't got it's motor running and needs to kickstart soon, before the season heads in the rearview mirror.