The St George Illawarra Dragons were defeated 22-4 by the Melbourne Storm at McLean Park, Napier on Saturday.
The Red-and-Whites scored only the one try in the encounter courtesy of centre Peter Mata’utia in the dying stages of the game.
Head Coach Paul McGregor made only the one positional change to the line-up announced earlier in the week with utility Will Matthews switching with Ben Creagh in the forward-pack.
Both teams tested one another in the opening stages of the match with neither allowing the other within whisper of their try line.
The Dragons were denied the opening four-pointer of the encounter just after the midway point of the stanza when halfback Benji Marshall’s cut-out pass to winger Jason Nightingale was adjourned to have been thrown forward.
Unfortunately, the decision proved costly for the visitors as the home side edged their way into the lead through second-rower Nelson Asofa-Solomona moments later in the 28th minute.
Storm captain Cameron Smith converted to make it 6-0.
Storm winger Marika Koroibete etched his name on to the score sheet with a blistering 70-metre dash down the left flank after intercepting Marshall’s cut-out pass to Nightingale minutes later.
Smith converted again to make it 12-0.
The Storm continued where they left off when second-half play recommenced and managed to breach the visitor’s defensive wall via second-rower Kevin Proctor in the 53rd minute.
Smith converted to make it 18-0.
Storm prop Mahe Fonua added to the visitor’s misery with a barging dash to the stripe in the 63rd minute.
The Dragons scored their lone consolatory try through centre Peter Mata’utia in the 77th minute.
St George Illawarra Dragons 4. Tries: Mata’utia. Goals: Widdop (0/1).
Melbourne Storm 22. Tries: Asofa-Solomona, Koroibete, Proctor, Fonua. Goals: Smith (3/4).