A blistering first half has seen the Melbourne Storm continue their remarkable opening round record with a 26-18 win over the South Sydney Rabbitohs.
Winning in Round 1 for the 19th time in a row, the reigning premiers led from start to finish in their return to AAMI Park played before 11,812 supporters.
Fielding 11 members of the team that triumphed in the grand final last October, fullback Ryan Papenhuyzen was a stand out with two tries, five goals and an assist.
Wasting little time in asserting their premiership credentials, a show-and-go from Cameron Munster (2nd minute) saw the five-eighth slice through for the first try of the season.
Showcasing an attacking mindset with Josh Addo-Carr making a break from inside his own half, Papua New Guinean powerhouse Justin Olam (10th minute) finished off the play, while Papenhuyzen (18th minute) put Kenny Bromwich into space before supporting to put the home side up 18-0 in equal time.
Papenhuyzen (29th minute) added a second four pointer after backing his pace to cross in the corner.
Needing to stem the flow of points to have any chance of remaining in the contest, the introduction of Benji Marshall yielded immediate dividends with Alex Johnston (33rd minute) touching down prior to halftime.
Coming out of the sheds with a renewed mentality, a beautiful cut out pass from Cody Walker saw Johnston (43rd minute) bag his second.
Re-establishing a 12 point buffer with a Papenhuyzen penalty goal, the Storm looked on shaky ground when Latrell Mitchell (56th minute) took on the line to narrow the margin to a converted try.
Slotting a second penalty goal on the hour mark after Jahrome Hughes was tackled in mid air, the Storm regained composure during the final quarter to walk away with a 26-18 victory.
Adding to the Rabbitohs' woes, front-rower Tom Burgess was stretchered from the field shortly before fulltime.
Next week, the Storm take on the Eels at Bankwest Stadium on Thursday night, while the Rabbitohs face the Sea Eagles at Lottoland on Saturday evening