Melbourne Storm suffered their biggest NRL defeat since 2014, with the Penrith Panthers achieving a record-breaking victory.
The Melbourne Storms were humiliated by the Penrith Panthers in Brisbane, with the reigning premier taking a record 32-6 win on Saturday night.
Penrith dominated the successful Magic Round clash at Suncorp Stadium, with Storm looking worryingly ineffective without superstar full-back Ryan Papenhuyzen in their ranks.
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Melbourne winger Nick Meaney dived for the Storm’s only try on 17 minutes, but from then on it was a massacre.
It was Penrith’s biggest win over Melbourne in NRL history and Storm’s biggest defeat to any team since 2014.
Speaking to Channel 9 after the 26-point loss, Cameron Munster, five-eighth from Melbourne, said Storm “looked like an under-12 team.”
“We were poor,” he admitted.
“It didn’t really matter who we were outside. He still had a good enough team to rock the Panthers.
“We can complain about the weather or complain about the slippery ball, but tonight we were poor and it’s not us, especially against a good team (in) Penrith.
“We have to go back to the drawing board and play much better against the Cowboys, otherwise it will be the same result.
“Rather disappointing result, and also my performance.
“We kept getting into the kind of pressured footy we wanted to play, but we kept putting them on their backs and letting them come out of their own end. When you do it against Penrith, they will make you pay … when Penrith has 60% of the ball they will give you a lot of points, and they did it tonight.
“We were poor. We looked like an under 12 team.
“We have to go back to the drawing board.
“I’m looking forward to next week. Far.”
The relentless Panthers showed no mercy on Saturday, with fiery full-back Viliame Kikau providing plenty of power and elegance in the top-ranking clash.
The Storm simply had no answers to its range of abilities.
“It’s probably a game we needed after three or four weeks of winning really well. This was a good comeback for us tonight and we got what we deserved, ”Storm manager Craig Bellamy told reporters at the post-match press conference.
“Maybe we weren’t doing as well as others thought. We hope to learn from this. “
Moses Leota, Isaah Yeo and the Panthers forward as a dominated unit. All in all it was as good a performance as coach Ivan Cleary, who was watching from Sydney after undergoing knee surgery, could have hoped.
Already without Papenhuyzen and Reimis Smith due to injury, Storm’s lost star helped Jahrome Hughes on match day due to a calf problem.
Marion Seve (center), Cooper Johns (middle) and Tui Kamikamica (bench) were all playing their first NRL games of the season and the Panthers’ quick, clinical play was a shock to their system.
Penrith put a foot on Storm’s throat early to take a 12-0 lead in 11 minutes and never took it off.
A piece of Kikau’s Fijian flying magic lit up the stadium. Cleary mounted one of his perfect bombs and Kikau, with the agility of a gazelle, jumped over the hapless Seve and planted him with the softest of silky hands for a magical ride for centuries in front of 46,454 fans.
Nathan Cleary’s 12 points out of six goals brought him to 1108 career points, surpassing Greg Alexander (1104) and only behind Ryan Girdler (1572) on Penrith’s all-time highscore list.
After being unhappy with aspects of his game in last week’s defeat to the Eels, the Panthers helped get back to their best and in combination with Luai, who set two tries himself, controlled the game from start to finish.
“It’s always exciting to have the challenge of facing the storm that was red-hot, and we come out of the back of a defeat,” Cleary said.
“It was a great opportunity for all of us to improve last week. I thought Romey (Luai) and I were getting along well, the best in a while. This is a model for us going forward, get him the ball in the right places to make him magic.
“Kiks played a great match. It’s strange some of the things he can do. He is one of the best defensive full-backs in the competition and he draws a lot of confidence from that. Then you see the touches of him up front. It’s hard to stop. “
The Panthers will then take on the Sydney Roosters at SCG on Saturday 21 May, kicking off at 7:35 pm AEST.
– with Joel Gould, NCA NewsWire
Originally published as “Team Under 12”: Melbourne Storm suffers a record capitulation against the premier in office