Melbourne Storm made it three from three to start the NRL season and Cameron Smith closed in on the game’s point-scoring record in a 32-2 win against Penrith in Bathurst.
Highlighted by a first Storm try to second gamer Marion Seve, Melbourne dominated the second half in their best performance of the opening three rounds.
Seve showed his elusiveness and speed to split the Panthers line, with his four-pointer sparking a huge celebration from his teammates aware of the significance of his achievement.
On a cold night in front of almost 11,000 fans. Smith tallied another 12 points via four conversions and two penalty goals, before coming off late in the game, to move to within nine of Hazem El Masri’s all-time points record.
A repeat of tonight’s showing would see the record fall in front of the home crowd at AAMI Park against the Bulldogs next Sunday.
Four of Storm’s five tries came in the second half – Brodie Croft (43rd minute), Josh Addo-Carr (57th), Marion Seve (69th) and Jesse Bromwich (76th).
Storm were forced to do plenty of defence in the first 40 minutes as the Panthers dominated the possession count.
However despite spending long periods in the Storm 20-metre zone, the Panthers were restricted to a solitary penalty goal which opened the scoring in the fifth minute.
Four minutes later, Cameron Munster grabbed the only try of the half, pouncing on a Penrith error to score.
A Cameron Smith conversion followed by a penalty goal approaching halftime put Melbourne 8-2 ahead.
Croft’s try got the Storm off to the perfect start after the break.