NRL 2 years ago

Storm celebrate Smith's 300th in style

  • Storm celebrate Smith's 300th in style
  • Storm celebrate Smith's 300th in style
  • Storm celebrate Smith's 300th in style

Melbourne did their best to make sure captain Cameron Smith's 300th NRL game was one to remember with a record win over Penrith.

The skipper became the first Storm player to reach the elite milestone and was able to celebrate in style after a 52-10 victory at AAMI Park.

It was the biggest win of the NRL season, eclipsing the previous best margin by two.

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After four successive losses heading into the match, the 10-try romp looked a return to Melbourne's glory days, when they were almost unstoppable on their home turf.

Smith starred but his teammates did their best to steal some of the limelight.

Halfback Cooper Cronk was a stand-out as he, winger Marika Koroibete and second-rower Kevin Proctor each scored two tries apiece.

Koroibete showed off his amazing athleticism to dive onto a Smith kick for his first, he then raced 90 metres to touch down for his second, after diffusing a Panthers bomb.

Melbourne had the match won by halftime, leading 26-0 after a brilliant start.

Cronk opened the scoring in the fifth minute thanks to a perfect chip kick into the in-goal by Smith that popped up into his arms.

Tohu Harris, Proctor and Koroibete all scored before Cronk took advantage of Penrith losing centre Isaah Yeo to the sin-bin for a professional foul.

Yeo was given a stint on the sidelines for holding Cronk back as he attempted to get to a ball in the in-goal but the Storm No.7 made the most of a second chance just a minute later.

After almost 60 minutes, the Panthers finally got their first points through winger Waqa Blake and they were able to double it soon after with fullback Will Smith touching down.

To Penrith's credit the second half was fairly level everywhere but the scoreboard, but the heavy defensive work took its toll, with late Storm tries by Mahe Fonua, Proctor and one by Richie Kennar capping the night.

Smith said the night couldn't have gone any better and felt humbled by the effort of his teammates and words of praise from his coach Craig Bellamy.

"It was very pleasing that we got a good result," Smith said.

"Win or lose it was still going to be my 300th and the celebration but it makes it a pretty memorable night tonight now that we've had a good win."

Penrith skipper Peter Wallace said his team, hit by a number of injuries to key players, never recovered from a poor start.

"Before the game we prepared well and we knew the Storm were going to turn up and play how they did," Wallace said.

"But we were on the back foot the whole game.

"We dropped the ball on the first set and we just couldn't get back into it and the first half was pretty much perfect from them."

Compounding the loss, Penrith second-rower Bryce Cartwright will undergo scans on his right knee with suspected cartilage damage.

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