The Melbourne Storm has snapped a two-game losing streak to defeat the Broncos by 40-6 at AAMI Park tonight to remind the competition that the defending champions are still the team to beat in 2021.
A blistering performance from Ryan Papenhuyzen was the absolute highlight, with the 2020 Clive Churchill Medallist scoring a stunning 4 tries in 11 minutes before halftime to destroy any hope Kevin Walters men keeping pace with the defending premiers.
Papenhuyzen also kicked five goals and a further two try assists in the best individual performance of 2021 so far.
Coming into the game it was an unfamiliar feeling for Melbourne who were looking to bounce back from two straight losses, while the Broncos were feeling ok after collecting their first win against the Bulldogs last week.
It was Melbourne who looked certain to score early in the match, first Josh Addo-Carr was denied just brushing the sideline in the right-hand corner and then minutes later centre Justin Olam lost the ball with the line at his mercy. Broncos winger Xavier Coates then picked up the loose pass that Olam left behind to counter and run length of the field to stun the home side and jump out to an early 6-0 lead.
It was an uncharacteristic effort from Melbourne in the first 20 minutes, with unforced errors and clunky finishes to their sets. The defending premiers then finally got it right when Addo-Carr found some space on the outside and made a break down the right-hand side. Addo-Carr then found a flying Ryan Papenhuyzen in support, who scored under the posts to tie up the scores at 6-6.
Papenhuyzen then scored his second try in as many minutes, when blockbusting PNG International Justin Olam steamrolled his way through the middle of the field and found his fullback in support and it was 12-6 with halftime looming.
Ryan Papenhuyzen then made it a hat-trick, when the Storm fullback collected an offload off Nelson Asofa-Solomona close to the line and accelerated towards the line to score. Minutes later he incredibly had a fourth try, after Jahrome Hughes made a break and again in support was that man Papenhuyzen who raced away for his fourth try in an astounding display to score all the points for Melbourne to lead 24-6 at halftime.
Brisbane never recovered as the Storm kept rolling in the second half, when Broncos winger David Mead allowed a bomb to bounce. This saw Storm backrower Tom Eisenhuth stroll through and collect the ball with the backrower then distributing the ball to his winger George Jennings to score in the corner and extend the lead to 28-6.
Jennings then scored his second try after a Storm set play from a scrum allowed Papenhuyzen to put his wingman over in the corner and extend the lead to 32-6 with 15 minutes remaining.
Cameron Munster then got in on the act when he skillfully dribbled the ball along the ground to then regather and dive on the ball to score the final try, which saw the score line blow out to 38-6 with minutes remaining.
Just as the siren was about to sound, the Storm were awarded a penalty in front of the posts, which saw Josh Addo-Carr in his 100th match for the club kick the penalty to put a cherry on top of his sides memorable 40-6 victory.
Melbourne now head to Sydney in Round 5, where they take on the drastically out of form Bulldogs side at Stadium Australia next Saturday in a game that will have Dogs fans squirming.
Brisbane will need to re-group quickly as the also play at the same ground on Thursday night where they will face the in form South Sydney Rabbitohs.