Melbourne Storm’s Thunderbolts have recorded their first win of 2014, defeating Penrith 42-24 at AAMI Park.
The Panthers started the match aggressively, scoring in the fifth minute through second-rower Bryce Cartwright. After cleverly intercepting a wayward Storm pass, Cartwright was able to capitalize with a try from the half way line. He then went on to convert his own try to lead the Storm 6-0 early on.
Storm were back in business quickly after some slick play from Suliasi Vunivalu in the eleventh minute. Vunivalu made it over the Panthers try line to peg the score back to 6-4.
Storm found gaps in the Panthers backline with Josh Minhinnick sliding through to reach the try line. Storm five-eighth Cameron Munster made the conversion to put Storm four points ahead with twenty-five minutes left to play in the half.
Some fancy footwork from Munster at the 28th minute mark lead to another Storm try and conversion to make it a 10 point lead before the half-time break.
After a sudden lapse in concentration from Penrith, Storm piled on the pressure before the break and Munster once again was able to score two tries in quick succession to build a 20-point lead.
Half-time saw the two teams head in with Storm leading 26-6 and in a strong position.
From the restart, it didn’t take long before Melbourne were back on the score sheet. Centre Josh Minhinnick was lively early and scored two diving try to put his team further ahead within six minutes.
Panthers winger Josh Jay was hoping to stage a fighting comeback in the fifty-second minute by reaching the touchline and building on their score count.
Not to be outdone by Jay, Storm winger Vunivalu completed his second try for the night with a surging run into the Panthers try line to put the Storm ahead 42-10.
In the 70th minute, Penrith broke the Strom lines with some fantastic individual skill from number seven Sam Scarlett which lead to a silky Brendan Attwood try.
The match was rounded out with a consolation tries to Jarryd Dodd and Brent Naden for the Panthers to make it 42-24 with one minute to play.