Storm flex their muscle against Knights
Melbourne Storm gave the purple faithful a show they won’t soon forget, defeating the Knights 40-12 at AAMI Park.
Cameron Smith was a late withdrawal from the side but he watched on with pride as his teammates were simply outstanding.
Three tries in the first 18 minutes set the tone before four unanswered tries in the second half saw Storm secure their biggest win of the season.
Exciting youngster Brandon Smith crossed the line in his NRL debut while Billy Slater did his Origin claims no harm at all, finishing with two try assists and two tries in a best afield performance.
It had been 38 days since Melbourne last played at home and they took less than two minutes to send the purple army to their feet when a Cooper Cronk chip kick sent Suliasi Vunivalu straight over the try line.
In the 14th minute a sensational team effort on the left edge pushed the home side further ahead as Billy Slater found Josh Addo-Carr.
The Storm attack was in some kind of mood and soon had their third after 18 minutes as 50-gamer Felise Kaufusi joined the party with his fourth try of the season.
The celebrations were halted temporarily when the Knights hit back with a try of their own in the 28th minute to make it a 16-6 half-time score line.
Slater had two try assists in the first half and in case Queensland selectors did not notice, the champion fullback scored two of his own in the 43rd and 53rd minute.
Suliasi Vunivalu also secured his double while Brandon Smith made it a debut to remember, dragging three opponents over the line for an impressive four-pointer that saw him mobbed by teammates from all angles.
Melbourne remain on top of the NRL ladder and travel to Cronulla to take on the Sharks next Thursday night.
Melbourne Storm 40
Tries: Suliasi Vunivalu 2, Billy Slater 2, Josh Addo-Carr, Felise Kaufusi, Brandon Smith, Cheyse Blair
Goals: Cameron Munster 4
Newcastle Knights 12
Tries: Ken Sio, Lachlan Fitzgibbon
Goals: Brock Lamb