The nib Newcastle Knights were defeated 40-12 by the Melbourne Storm at AAMI Park on Friday evening.
Both sides made several changes before kick off, and the Storm punished the Knights early with two tries in 15 minutes.
After two minutes of play, Storm winger Suliasi Vunivalu slid over on the right side to get the first points of the match.
Dane Gagai made a crucial try saving tackle ten metres from the line, but a Billy Slater flick pass landed in the hands of Josh Addo-Carr for the Storm’s second, to stretch their lead to 10-0.
Minutes later the scoring assault continued with Felise Kaufusi side stepping his way through a gap in defence, as the home side crossed out wide to lead 16-0.
28 minutes in, the Knights got involved as Gagai gifted a pass out the back to winger Ken Sio, who dived over under pressure. Brock Lamb converted a difficult kick as the Knights trail 16-6.
Soon after, it was almost a double from Sio but the referee pulled it back for a forward pass before the Knights were forced to play with just 12 men, when Fitzgibbon was sent to the sin bin.
Melbourne led the Knights 16-6 at the break.
In the second half, Slater was on the end of a precision grubber by Cooper Cronk to snatch the ball from Lamb. The bunker reviewed it several times, awarding the try due to insufficient evidence before Vunivalu came up with his second 50 minutes in. The Storm led 26-6.
Minutes later Slater sliced through to add one more to his tally before grit strength from the Storms’ Brandon Smith, forced his way over to see the score line blow out to 36-6.
A cruel decision as the Knights were denied a try which could have been number two for Sio. In the 72nd minute however, the Knights weren't to be denied when Lachlan Fitzgibbon beat Slater to ground a grubber kick.
The Storms’ Cheyse Blair had the last say of the night as he dived over minutes before the siren, for the Storm to win 40-12.
Newcastle Knights 12 (T: Sio, Fitzgibbon, G: Lamb 2/2)
Melbourne Storm 40 (T: Vunivalu 2, Slater 2, Addo-Carr, Kaufusi, Smith, Blair, G: Munster 4/8)