Storm celebrate skipper's 350th in style
Melbourne Storm have given their skipper a 350th to remember, recording the Club's biggest ever win over the Sea Eagles with a 40-6 triumph at AAMI Park.
Cameron Smith provided an incredible four try assists and team-high 31 tackles as he became just the third player in rugby league history to reach his illustrious milestone.
A late inclusion into the side for Billy Slater (concussion), youngster Jahrome Hughes was brilliant at fullback. The 22-year-old scored Melbourne’s first try and looked more than comfortable throughout the afternoon.
Storm also had nine players run over 100 metres as they maintained their place atop the NRL ladder.
It was a slow start for the home side who committed four errors inside the opening 14 minutes.
Manly converted a penalty kick during that time for an early two-point lead but soon enough Melbourne found their groove.
The game’s opening try would fittingly come via the hands of the milestone man Cameron Smith, who laid a slick flick pass inside to Jahrome Hughes who made it three tries in three games this season.
Greater control of the football resulted in pressure on the Sea Eagles defence. That eventually told as they surrendered a penalty as Cameron Smith made sure of the two points for an 8-2 lead.
Manly hit back though against the run of play to reduce the deficit back to two with nine minutes to play in the half.
Storm deserved better reward for their effort and Suliasi Vunivalu gave them just that when he dove over from dummy half to give the men in purple a 12-6 half-time advantage.
Four minutes after the restart Felise Kaufusi came up with a game changing play, a one on one strip which gave Melbourne all the ascendancy.
They forced a goal line drop out before Joe Stimson capped up the wave of momentum with a powerful try that again came courtesy of a Smith pass.
Holding a 12-point lead it seemed Storm were one try away from breaking the resistance and that moment came 24 minutes to play.
Manly failed to gather a Cooper Cronk chip kick, leaving Kenny Bromwich to pounce and ground the loose ball, extending the score line out to 24-6.
From there it was party time for the purple faithful as Will Chambers, Cooper Cronk and Josh Add-Carr all crossed the line in the final 10 minutes.
Melbourne Storm 40
Tries: Jahrome Hughes, Suliasi Vunivalu, Joe Stimson, Kenny Bromwich, Will Chambers, Cooper Cronk, Josh Addo-Carr
Goals: Cameron Smith 6
Manly Sea Eagles 6
Tries: Matthew Wright
Goals: Matthew Wright