Thunderbolts return to winner's list
The Thunderbolts have produced an emphatic 80-minute performance to dispose of the Bulldogs 60-10 in their Round 6 clash on Saturday afternoon.
Underneath a clear Sunshine Coast sky the Thunderbolts raced in 11 tries to two and kept the Bulldogs scoreless in the second half.
Leading 16-10 at half-time, the Thunderbolts piled on eight tries in the second stanza with Josh Kerr bagging a hat-trick and Cory Parker, Joel Gittins, Nat McGavin grabbing doubles.
The 50-point win was the team's first victory since Round 1 with the result moving the side up to four completion points on the NYC ladder.
After a series of high-scoring and heartbreaking defeats in recent weeks, Thunderbolts' coach Eric Smith was pleased with the strong performance against the Bulldogs.
"The last few weeks we've been in positions to win games but we've just lacked that little bit of polish," Smith said.
"We've been working really hard and today was a reward for those last two or three weeks. We've slowly been building for an 80-minute performance and today that's what we got."
The match started off in scrappy fashion and was punctuated by errors in the early exchanges, so it came as little surprise when the Bulldogs opened their account off a Thunderbolts' forward pass with a try in the corner to Issac Pedro after 12 minutes.
The home side responded four minutes later with a great piece of individual play by centre Cory Parker, who slipped past a handful of 'Dogs defenders to plant the Steeden over the whitewash.
The Thunderbolts struck again moments later when opposite centre Angelo Leaupepe sent Joel Gittens over out on the right edge, before Kerr scored his first try to extend Melbourne's lead to 16-4 after 23 minutes.
Just as it appeared the scoreboard would remain untouched heading into the break, a 45-metre burst by Bulldogs fullback Josh Bergamin allowed winger Marcelo Montoya to scoot over the line untouched.
Melbourne extended their lead to 22-10 three minutes into the second half when back-rower Charlie Galo burrowed his way through some feeble defence.
When Parker pounced on a Bulldogs mistake he found winger Nat McGavin who dashed over for another Thunderbolts try and a 28-10 lead.
Gittens and Kerr snared their second tries shortly after to open up a 28-point Purple Pride advantage heading into the final 20 minutes.
Parker scored his second try to take the score out to 42-10 before a line break by halfback Brodie Croft sent Angelo Leaupepe over the stripe with Jesse Arthars nailing the conversion for a 48-10 lead with 10 minutes left on the clock.
Man of the Match Kerr completed his hat-trick in the 74th minute as he strolled underneath the sticks before McGavin sealed the comprehensive victory with his second try on the stroke of fulltime.
Coach Smith was particularly pleased with hat-trick hero Kerr, who constantly found himself in the right positions around the park.
"Josh Kerr has been one of our most consistent guys throughout the start of the year and making really good meterage for us," he said.
"He was captain today and led from the front and he got the rewards for that with three tries."
The Thunderbolts will now turn their attention towards next weekend's away clash against the mid-table Wests Tigers.
Thunderbolts 60 (Josh Kerr 3, Cory Parker 2, Joel Gittins 2, Nat McGavin 2, Angelo Leaupepe, Charlie Galo tries; Jesse Arthars 7, Scott Drinkwater goals) defeated Bulldogs 10 (Issac Pedro, Marcelo Montoya tries; Zac Greene goal) at Sunshine Coast Stadium.