The supremely well-oiled machine that is the Melbourne Storm have put on an attacking masterclass to roll through the South Sydney Rabbitohs and record a 64-6 victory at AAMI Park tonight.
The Storm shot out of the blocks in the opening exchanges with the try-scoring prowess of winger Suliasi Vunivalu on show when fullback Billy Slater found some space down the short side to put the flying Fijian into enough space to force his way over in the 3rd minute.
Captain Cameron Smith added the extras from the sideline to give his team an early 6-0 advantage.
The Storm made it back to back tries when pivot Cameron Munster came up with a remarkable four-pointer just when you think you've seen it all on a Rugby League field. Following a Cooper Cronk bomb, Munster ended up with all but his arms in the South Sydney in-goal before reaching back into the field of play to grab the ball. Rabbitohs pivot John Sutton proceeded to kick the ball from Munster's hands into his face. Munster somehow managed to hang onto the ball to score the try.
Smith made no mistake in sending his team out to a twelve point lead inside the opening six minutes with a conversion next to the posts.
The onslaught from Melbourne would prove relentless with the Rabbitohs doing well to hang in defensively until Vunivalu charged over from dummy half in the 28th minute to post an 18-0 lead for the Storm.
From that point the floodgates would open with the eye of the Storm charging through a shell-shocked South Sydney team in the final ten minutes of the half.
Munster sent winger Josh Addo-Carr over in the 34th minute before a grubber from Cronk ricocheted off Souths' defenders and was scooped up by Smith to cross in the 38th minute.
From the ensuing set of six, Vunivalu chalked up his hat trick via a penalty try. After yet another break was made by the Storm, Cronk kicked ahead for his winger who looked to have received the perfect bounce only for Robert Jennings to grab the left arm of Vunivalu, denying him the opportunity to use both hands in regathering the football.
Smith continued his perfect night with the boot nailing another conversion from out wide to send his team into the sheds with a 36-0 lead.
Despite a lone try to Tyrell Fuimaono, things didn't get any easier in the second forty with Slater, Addo-Carr, Glasby and Harris all crossing the stripe before the home team saved their best try of the night for last.
Already with a hat-trick to his name, Vunivalu looked set for a fourth upon bursting through after taking a run from his own goal-line. An outstanding chase from Angus Crichton forced him to toe the ball ahead which set up a hat-trick for fellow winger Addo-Carr to score and cap off a remarkable attacking display from the duo in the 79th minute.
The match also marked yet another couple of milestones for Melbourne's genius skipper Cameron Smith who received an early mark with twenty minutes to play. The win tonight was the 250th of his career whilst he also racked up a personal best tally of 22 points for the night.
Next week the Rabbitohs will be scrambling for their end of year holiday tickets, but before that they will have to face another tough encounter against top four hopefuls, the Parramatta Eels at ANZ Stadium on Friday night.
The Storm meanwhile will be looking to keep the momentum rolling heading into the finals when they host a desperate Canberra Raiders outfit who will be playing for their seasons at AAMI Park on Saturday night.