Melbourne have ensured Kenny Bromwich celebrated his 200th game in style with a 42-6 win over the Dragons but lost star fullback Ryan Papenhuyzen and Reimis Smith to injuries.
Tries to Papenhuyzen and Nick Meaney in the first half set up a 12-0 lead before the Storm went on with the job despite being down to 15 players for most of the second half.
The Dragons did well to absorb some pressure early but weren't given many opportunities to attack the Storm's line with Cameron Munster and Harry Grant putting on a show at AAMI Park.
The Storm lost Papenhuyzen to a left hamstring injury after he had his right knee assessed at half-time after copping a knock from Blake Lawrie in a tackle.
Match: Storm v Dragons
Round 9 -
Venue: AAMI Park, Melbourne
Papenhuyzen crossed for two tries to continuing his try-scoring run before leaving the field. He joined Smith, who has a suspected torn pectoral muscle.
For the Dragons, who were going into the contest with three straight wins, they were starved of possession in the end with just 42% of the ball.
Dragons coach Anthony Griffin tinkered with his side pre-game with Tariq Sims starting at prop and Jack Bird moving into the back-row, which allowed Talatau Amone to start at five-eighth.
Bird error punished as Meaney dashes away
- The Storm were denied two tries through Jesse Bromwich and Nelson Asofa-Solomona early before eventually crossing through Ryan Papenhuyzen in the 21st minute.
- Melbourne extended their lead by turning defence into attack when Nick Meaney pounced on a loose ball and ran 80 metres to the line, weaving past Moses Mbye to score a long-range try.
- Papenhuyzen had an injury scare shortly after scoring with the leading point-scorer picking up a knee complaint while being bundled into touch. He then left the field with a hamstring injury.
- Cameron Munster stepped up in Papenhuyzen's absence, keeping the ball alive to set up Jahrome Hughes on the right edge before scoring his own.
- Nelson Asofa-Solomona crossed next with a charge over effort the first four-pointer of his season.
- Melbourne's 325 points in the first nine rounds eclipsed the Roosters' 1935 achievements with the Storm now on top of the Telstra Premiership ladder.
- The Dragons had just 42% of the ball while they conceded 17 offloads to five in the loss.
- Jack de Belin scored the first try of his career since 2018 with a consolation effort in the 73rd minute.
Play of the game
Cameron Munster x Jahrome Hughes, it's a beautiful sight with the Storm halves combining for one of the more entertaining tries of the afternoon in the second half with Munster keeping the ball alive before having the vision to find Hughes out wide.
Hughes and Munster magic dazzles for the Storm
What they said
"All the boys have got a lot of confidence. Our spine is playing outstanding. I think our middles did it tonight. Nelson was great tonight and Jesse and Kingy are always good. I run around like a headless chook every now and then to try and create stuff out of nothing and I've been lucky enough to do that in the last couple of weeks." - Storm five-eighth Cameron Munster.
"We had to do a lot of defence out there today. I wasn't happy with some of the stuff at the back end of the game. They got an intercept before half-time but up until then I thought it was a really good arm wrestle. We'll improve from this and with a six-day turnaround we'll be better next week." - Dragons coach Anthony Griffin.
Papenhuyzen pushes through the pain to score a double
Both teams are off to Magic Round next weekend with important clashes at Suncorp Stadium.
The Dragons will take on the Titans on Saturday afternoon before Melbourne and Penrith follow in a blockbuster prime-time event.
The Storm will be sweating on Ryan Papenhuyzen's fitness while they'll have to replace Reimis Smith if scans confirm a pectoral injury.