The Melbourne Storm have run riot against the Warriors, taking a dominant 70-10 win in their ANZAC Day clash.
The haul is the biggest points tally Melbourne side have ever scored at their home ground, AAMI Park, and the Warriors biggest ever loss.
The first half was a tight affair and errors cost the Warriors dearly, before Craig Bellamy’s side came out in the second half and blew Nathan Brown’s men away.
Flyer Xavier Coates completed the rare feat of scoring four tries, with a second-half hattrick, including an acrobatic effort after a Jahrome Hughes kick.
Prop Nelson Asofa-Solomona came up with some brilliance of his own, putting in a pinpoint bomb behind the Warriors defence for a Ryan Papenhuyzen try.
“Nelson Asofa-Solomona, the front rower puts up one of the bombs of the season,” Warren Smith said of the hulking prop’s effort.
The Warriors didn’t come away from their Round 7 clash unscathed, with winger Dallin Watene-Zelezniak going off after a sickening head knock and Josh Curran suffering a suspected MCL injury.
Ryan Papenhuyzen was outstanding for the Storm recording the ridiculous statline of two tries and three try assists before Bellamy gave him an early sit.
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WARRIORS REALITY CHECK
The Warriors were well and truly in the contest in the first half, applying pressure on the Storm before crucial errors forced their hand.
To start the game, both the Melbourne and New Zealand sides were going back and forth before the Warriors had the first attacking chance of the game.
Edward Kosi was passed the ball with only a singular Storm defender in his path to the try line, but he dropped it and fullback Ryan Papenhuyzen pounced.
“I think Kosi had a chance to take Papenhuyzen one on one and just dropped his lollies in front,” Cooper Cronk said.
“And the speed and the execution for Papenhuyzen just swooped on it and set up the Melbourne storm.”
Papenhuyzen found his flying halfback who burned off cover defenders to open the scoring, and the Warriors errors didn’t end there.
In what should have been a regulation grounding, winger Edward Kosi fumbled a grubber and the ball popped straight into the path of Xavier Coates to score.
Then only minutes later, playmaker Shaun Johnson attempted to throw a cut-out pass on the right side of the field, but didn’t look, handing the ball to Nick Meaney in space.
Again, Meaney charged away to score off the back of a Warriors error.
“The fact that the Warriors have had three or four errors and the Melbourne Storm have scored directly off all of those errors,” Cronk said.
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“The Warriors really need to clean that area up.”
Nathan Brown’s side produced two classy tries in between crucial errors as the score sat 16-10 at half time.
But fell away in the second drastically, allowing the Storm to run riot and record a ridiculous 70 points.
Prior to this encounter the Warriors were in the top eight and were one of the surprise packages of the early 2022 season, recording three early wins from seven games.
The New Zealand side have been gutsy and have scraped through for tight victories before sticking it to the Roosters in a respectable loss.
This clash against the Storm was always going to be a reality check, but never did they expect to cop their worst ever loss.
Despite a number of injuries to key players including Josh Curran and Dallin Watene-Zelezniak, the Warriors were completely outclassed by one of the premiership contenders.
While no one expects the Warriors to be vying for the top four, playing against one of the elite teams always gives you a better bearing of where you are at.
What will be worrying for coach Nathan Brown is the lack of desire his team showed in the second half, allowing the Storm to run riot.
Fox League’s Corey Parker was scathing of the Warriors second half performance.
“We sit here at half time and how the Warriors were going to get back into this game, we talk about holding the ball and completing and getting into it,” Parker said.
“They had two completed sets in 40 minutes, they were two from six.”
THE GAME’S BEST ATTACK
The Storm spine of Ryan Papenhuyzen, Cameron Munster, Jahrome Hughes and Harry Grant were simply outstanding against the Warriors on ANZAC Day.
Papenhuyzen was seemingly in everything and one particular try highlighted how strong the star fullback has become as a competitor.
In a seemingly non-threatening play, the Melbourne gun danced back on the inside, darting through the Warriors line.
Multiple times it looked like he was about to go down tackled, but somehow emerged and pushed his way across the tryline.
“Three tries in the space of five minutes, the athletic ability of Papenhuyzen, hit the ground a couple of times there but still able to find the line,” Greg Alexander said.
“Incredibly that he travelled 10 metres virtually on the ground.”
Meanwhile his teammates ran riot to pile on 70 points including 54 in the second half.
“The spine that we raved out before the game, Munster, Hughes and Papenhuyzen, set up nine tries between them,” Cooper Cronk said.
“It is just astronomical numbers that the Storm have put together and we have to go back to halftime, it was 16-10 and it has ended up 70-10.”
“Melbourne Storm were ridiculous, they were 19 from 21 (completed sets) in the second half and you give, in my opinion, the game’s best attacking team that much ball and they will make you pay,” Corey Parker said.
“Ridiculous in regards to where they are asking questions, there ability to keep the foot on the throat the relentlessness.”
Between Grant, Munster, Papenhuyzen and Hughes, the numbers are staggering.
The quarter scored five tries, recorded nine try assists, 12 tackle breaks, five line breaks and and 46 points in a performance for the ages.
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COATES NIGHT OUT
Xavier Coates scored four tries in his side’s epic victory over the Warriors.
After scoring one four-pointer in the first half, the recently re-signed flyer scored a second-half hattrick within eight minutes.
Coates was one of three big guns the Storm re-signed weeks ago, being handed an upgraded contract after only a handful of games with his new club.
The 21-year-old clearly impressed coach Craig Bellamy and his ANZAC Day effort will be doing his value no favours moving forward.
While he had a ridiculous game, Coates was humble in a post-match interview, putting the praise back onto his spine.
“Yeah obviously I can’t score those tries if the boys inside me aren’t doing their job,” Coates said.
“Craig speaks about doing your job and all I really have to do is chase the kicks and put the ball down, the boys on the inside of me set everything up and off the back of that I just have to put the ball down so they were unreal.
“I am loving my time so far here at the Storm.”
Coates recorded an insane statline, running for 173 metres, with five tackle breaks, four tries and two line breaks.
On particular try showcased Coates effort and desire, burning Warriors winger Edward Kosi off before acrobatically grounding the ball for his fourth.
Fox League’s Greg Alexander was impressed with the try, cutting down the metres and never giving up on the play.
“He didn’t have to work hard for the first one but boy did he do some work for that one,” Greg Alexander said.
“Xavier Coates blew past him, what a put down, what a try.”
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The Warriors haven’t won their traditional ANZAC clash against the Storm for seven years, with their last victory coming in 2014.
While the New Zealand side will be hoping for an upset, that result looks unlikely due to one damning stat.
Since that win, Craig Bellamy’s side have more premierships than the Warriors have finals games.
The Warriors will get a huge boost with front row enforcer Matt Lodge slotting into the side after missing a week due to a side strain.
Young gun Taniela Otukolo has also been added to the bench and will likely add some spark and flare when he enters the field.
Meanwhile, the Storm welcome back Jesse and Kenneath Bromwich after missing a week due to Covid-19 protocols.
Last week the Roosters scored three tries on the left side of the field, the same edge in-form playmaker Cameron Munster lines up on.
The 27-year-old has been on fire so far this season and will be hoping to continue his dominance against the Warriors.
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