Melbourne Storm, spurred on by an electric start, defeated Newcastle Knights 40-14 to bounce back from back-to-back defeats.
The Storm made the perfect start when Ryan Hoffman offloaded to Billy Slater who broke to assist a Josh Addo-Carr try. It was then the turn of Suliasi Vunivalu to get on the scoresheet when a Cameron Smith chip bounced perfectly for the big Fijian.
Melbourne were on fire. Tim Glasby was next to go over for the Storm as they continued to dominate. But after Melbourne took two points through a Cameron Smith penalty, their momentum halted.
Kalyn Ponga created a try for Lachlan Fitzgibbon with his electric footwork to get the Knights on the board.
Newcastle continued to probe the Storm’s line and finally got their reward with one minute to go till the break when a great Mitchell Pearce pass found former Hull KR man Ken Sio who stepped inside to dive over.
Slater showed his experience when he got Fitzbibbon sin-binned for a professional foul after a quick tap after the interval. This allowed Addo-Carr to cross on the next set. The winger showed great skill to keep hold of the ball to reach out and grab the try.
After Fitzgibbon returned to the field, Ponga broke free on the left and came to Slater. But the master beat the young gun as Slater’s tackle dislodged the ball when Ponga attempted to go on the outside.
Newcastle were again made to pay for that missed chance when a Ryley Jacks kick was fumbled by Sio allowing Vunivalu to stroll in for his second on the night and his 50th of his career.
The Knights hadn’t given up despite being 30-8 down. Ponga combined with Sio to send the winger in for his second on the left. But the Storm were ruthless and hit straight back when Jacks fed Felise Kaufusi and Sam Kasiano scored his first try for the Storm when he beat a Herman Ese’ese try to break the line.
Storm: Slater, Vunivalu, Toumaipea, Scott, Addo-Carr, Munster, Jacks, J Bromwich, C Smith, Asofa-Solomona, Kaufusi, Hoffman, Glasby; Interchanges: K Bromwich, Welch, Kasiano, B Smith
Tries: Addo-Carr 2, Vunivalu 2, Glasby, Kaufusi, Kasiano; Goals: C Smith 6
Knights: Ponga, Kenny-Dowall, Mata’utia, Ross, Sio, Lamb, Pearce, D Saifiti, Griffin, Lillyman, Fitzgibbon, Guerra, Ese’ese; Interchanges: Levi, Heighington, Buhrer, J Saifiti
Tries: Fitzgibbon, Sio 2; Goals: Ponga
Sin-bin: Fitzgibbon – professional foul
Full match reports of all this weekend’s NRL games will feature in Monday’s League Express.