Tempers flared as Melbourne Storm defeated Canterbury Bulldogs 12-6 in an ill-tempered opening round game.
The Storm, Grand Finalists in 2016, raced to a quick lead with two tries in the opening six minutes through Cheyse Blair and Suliasi Vunivalu, with two Cameron Smith goals extending their lead to 12-0 after 24 minutes.
Canterbury hit back when Josh Reynolds touched down after 30 minutes, but that was the final scoring action of the game, as a fight overshadowed Melbourne’s victory.
Sam Kasiano and Will Chambers were sin-binned for their involvement just before half-time, before Melbourne’s defensive resolve earned them victory.
Bulldogs: Hopoate, B Morris, J Morris, Lee, Holland, Reynolds, Mbye, Tolman, Lichaa, Graham (c), Jackson, Eastwood, Klemmer. Subs: Kasiano, Fualalo, Elliott, Faitala-Mariner.
Storm: Munster, Vunivalu, Chambers, Blair, Addo-Carr, Jacks, Cronk, Bromwich, Smith (c), McLean, Kaufusi, Bromwich, Finucane. Subs: Tonumaipea, Welch, Glasby, Asofa-Solomona.