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Competition - NRL
Round - Round 13
Teams – Melbourne Storm v Penrith Panthers
Date –    4th of June 2016
Venue – AAMI Park, Melbourne VIC
Photographer – Brett Crockford
Description –

The men in purple did not need to look far for inspiration on Saturday night as Cameron Smith and Cooper Cronk again showed their love for the purple jersey, backing up from Origin in fine style to help Storm beat the Panthers 24-6 at AAMI Park.

Cronk was dominant in the first half as he set up tries, three in total, by hand and foot before sealing the win with a runaway try in the final minute of the game.

Smith was at his ever-present best with a herculean 38 tackles on the night to go along with the 53 he had made for Queensland just three days prior.

While the option was there to take the night off and watch their teammates do the work, the Storm skipper confessed that was just not their style.

“We pride ourselves on being available for our Club,” Smith said.

“It is pretty important to us that we are available for our Club and our teammates to be there on the weekend with them.

“The easy option is to not be there and rest but we put a lot of time and effort into what we are doing this year as a club.

“State of Origin is very important, it is a big part of our game but it is not something that is going to take away from club football, not in my eyes anyway.”

While the efforts of Smith and Cronk would leave the mind of a mortal man spinning, for their coach it is just something he has come expect from the prolific pair.

“Smithy has been doing it for 12 or 13 years, Cooper has been doing it for 9 or 10. They always pride themselves on backing up for Origin and come back and playing well for their club,” Craig Bellamy said.

“They always do a tremendous job, they were outstanding again tonight.”

After doing everything in his power to overcome an ankle injury to get up for Origin I, after Cronk was declared fit for the series opener Bellamy admits he thought the chances of having his halfback available for Saturday were slim.

“When he played Origin… I basically ruled him out,” Bellamy said.

“I don’t think anyone thought he would back up after what he went through with the ankle.

“It was great to have him out there, great to have both of them out there and what they go through for our Club is tremendous and they’ve been doing it for a long period of time.”

After helping their side to a sixth straight win and to the top of the NRL ladder it is safe to say Storm fans would happily agree.

Acknowledgement of Country

Melbourne Storm respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.