Storm triumph in Napier
Melbourne Storm have recorded back to back victories, defeating St. George Illawarra 22-4 at McLean Park, Napier.
In front of 14,532 in New Zealand, a clinical performance from Craig Bellamy's side saw Melbourne earn their 10th victory of the season. The win sees Storm consolidate their position inside the top eight approaching the final six rounds of the season.
Both sides traded sets to begin the contest without creating any clear cut try-scoring opportunities. After thwarting the Dragons on multiple occasions as they pushed into the attacking third, Melbourne's patient ball built pressure on the Dragons defence which eventually paid dividends for the host.
Playing in his home country, Junior Kiwi representative Nelson Asofa-Solomona scored his first NRL try to open Melbourne's account for the evening after being played in by skipper Cameron Smith.
With the tight nature of the contest continuing, Melbourne were back pedalling in defence as half time approached before a last tackle play from Benji Marshall was intercepted by Tohu Harris, allowing Storm to turn defence into attack. Hometown hero Harris' offload to Marika Koroibete set the flying Fijian away down the left wing to double Melbourne's advantage.
As it did in the first half, it took a New Zealander to break the deadlock in the second stanza. Kevin Proctor completed a copy book play, running onto a short ball from five-eighth Blake Green to give Storm a 18-0 lead with just over 20 minutes left in the contest.
Finishing the match strongly, Storm refused to let St. George Illawarra into the contest continuing to pile on the points as Mahe Fonua found the try line after coming off the interchange bench.
Storm will travel to Leichhardt Oval next Friday night to tackle Wests Tigers.
Melbourne Storm 22
Tries: Nelson Asofa-Solomona, Marika Koroibete, Kevin Proctor, Mahe Fonua
Goals: Cameron Smith 3
St. George Illawarra Dragons 4
Tries: Peter Mata'utia