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Munster injured as Storm outclass Warriors

The Warriors' tough week got a lot tougher thanks to a 50-6 thrashing at the hands of Melbourne on Friday night but the win may have come at a cost for Craig Bellamy's men.

In a match where scintillating performances from Ryan Papenhuyzen and Jahrome Hughes helped the Storm pile on the points, an early knee injury to star playmaker Cameron Munster is cause for concern.

Munster strained the knee just four minutes into the contest and hobbled his way to half-time but did not return to the field after that.

Storm coach Craig Bellamy said Munster's injury was looking like an MCL strain and while the club will need to send him for scans it was looking as though the five-eighth would miss four-to-six weeks.

Munster described the injury as "devastating."

"It was one of those tackles where I awkwardly fell over, I'm not sure what really happened in the tackle, I remember getting up all ginger and sore," he said.

"I just had to strap it and try to play it out until half time. It started to cool down and ache a lot more and getting harder and harder as the game went on."

Paul Momirovski was a star in his first game for the Storm with two tries and eight busts but it was Papenhuyzen (two tries, two try assists and two try saves) and Hughes (three try assists and seven busts) who did the damage.

Munster injured in tackle

Having sacked coach Steve Kearney at the start of the week, the Warriors were easily the better of the two sides in the opening 10 minutes, aided by Munster hobbling from the fourth minute and Christian Welch being rubbed out by a head knock in the ninth.

Ken Maumalo went close to scoring in the third minute but was pushed touch in goal while Patrick Herbert almost touched down on the opposite flank but bounced the grounding under heavy pressure from the defence.

When Josh Addo-Carr – back in the side after being at the birth of his child a week earlier – swooped on a Roger Tuivasa-Sheck grubber and sprinted 70 metres it set up opening points totally against the run of play with centre Momirovski crossing on club debut.

A Karl Lawton HIA in the 13th minute meant both teams were down to 16 and handed Chanel Harris-Tavita his first minutes since the season resumption.

Back-to-back sets on the Storm line came up empty for the Warriors midway through the half and from that point it was all Melbourne for the rest of the half.

A Papenhuyzen burst of speed put Suliasi Vunivalu into space on the right edge for 10-0 then he burrowed over himself from dummy half for 16-0 inside half an hour. When the Warriors spilled a bomb soon after Papenhuyzen threw the last pass for Momirovski's second and a daunting 22-0 half time score-card.

Munster finally succumbed to his knee injury during the break and the Warriors, aided by back-to-back penalties upon the resumption, bagged their first try in the 44th minute with some neat work from Kodi Nikorima and Gerard Beale to put Herbert over.

A successful Storm challenge from a turnover, having spotted a small Warriors knock-on, gave them an attacking set from which Papenhuyzen sliced over for his second as the Storm hit back immediately.

Momirovski slides over for his first try in Storm colours

Two possible Tuivasa-Sheck try-assists attacking the Storm left edge went begging as his outside men couldn't cling to passes with the frustration evident on the skipper's face. Instead it was their own ragged left edge that conceded further points with Hughes setting up Vunivalu's second.

His hat-trick came from the very next set as the Storm rolled downfield and a Hughes chip put it on a dime for his winger.

Kenny Bromwich and Tino Fa'asuamaleaui were also forced off for HIAs, leaving Melbourne with a healthy 38-6 lead but no fit players on the bench midway through the second half, though each was eventually cleared to return.

Luckily for the Storm the Warriors couldn't get their hands on the ball with Brandon Smith forcing his way over from dummy half in the 62nd minute and Addo-Carr winning the race to a grounding in the 74th to bring up the half century.

A face plant in the act of scoring made him the fifth player in the match – and fourth from Melbourne – to be sent for a HIA.

The win was the Storm's ninth in a row against the Warriors, a streak dating back to 2015.


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.