NRL: Storm destroy Panthers 46-6

An electrifying Melbourne Storm unleashed a merciless first half massacre that condemned the Penrith Panthers to a horrifying 46-6 loss at AAMI Park on Saturday afternoon.
Nanjing Night Net

Conceding six tries and scoring none in the first half, the Panthers lacked any spark as they scrambled- unsuccessfully- to stop the Storm’s uncontainable rampage.

While the Storm’s fury eased in the second half, the damage was already too far gone and only a late try to Penrith second-rower Matt Robinson saved the Panthers from a scoreless humiliation.

It took just 34 seconds for Melbourne’s Cooper Cronk to flick a quick inside pass to Billy Slater, who sent winger Sisa Waqa racing 50 metres down the field to score.

Skipper Cameron Smith converted and the Storm led 6-0.

Just before the eighth minute, a bloody five-eighth Lachlan Coote was forced off the field for a short period after taking a hit to the face from teammate Michael Jennings while tackling a Storm player.

The Storm again raided their try-line when Slater passed to Cronk, who slipped through Penrith’s defence and charged over in the 13th minute.

Smith nailed the conversion and the Storm doubled their lead.

By the 17th minute, the Storm had posted 16 points with Jesse Bromwich out-muscling the Panthers defence to power over for a try.

Penrith almost hit back in the 22nd minute when Jennings reached an arm over the line but the effort was denied by the video referee when it was confirmed that the speedy centre had lost grip of the ball moments before it hit the ground.

The visitor’s misery continued when Waqa clutched a Slater pass and fended off three Panthers defenders to score in the 25th minute.

Smith mastered his third conversion of the match and the Storm led 22-0.

An outstanding Cronk cross-field kick delivered the Storm their next try when Justin O’Neill defused the sky-high bomb and dived over in the 35th minute.

Smith secured another conversion and the Storm led 28-0 before Cronk picked up his second try of the game to extend his side’s advantage to 32-0 in the 38th minute.

Add Smith’s fifth conversion of the game to the Storm’s tally and the home side led 34-0 at the break.

In the second half, the Storm were contained for ten minutes before striking, with O’Neill clutching the ball off a Gareth Widdop kick and scoring a try.

Sharpshooter Smith elevated the Storm’s lead to 40-0.

The Panthers finally posted points on the scoreboard when young-gun Robinson collected a Coote pass and barged over the line in the 71st minute.

Halfback Luke Walsh sent the ball flying between the posts with a successful conversion and the Panthers trailed 40-6.

Producing a fiery finish to their dominant performance, Storm second-rower Sika Manu sped through a narrow gap in the Panthers’ defence to bag Melbourne a try in the 79th minute.

Smith perfected his final conversion of the game to finalise the Storm’s win and banish Penrith to a 46-6 defeat.

The Panthers return to Centrebet Stadium for redemption against the Canberra Raiders on Sunday week. Kick-off is 2.00pm.

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