8 Jun 2019

Warriors thumped by pace-setting Storm

7:35 pm on 8 June 2019

A breakout performance from Melbourne fullback Jahrome Hughes has helped orchestrate a 32-10 win over the Warriors that ensures the Storm top the standings at the midway point of the NRL season.

Kodi Nikorima

Kodi Nikorima Photo: Photosport

In contrast, the Warriors stumbled to their eighth loss of the season, and now sit 12th on the ladder.

Not at their best until the second half, Melbourne were irrepressible in fighting back from 10-2 down late in the first half in Auckland on Saturday to register a fourth straight win - and their eighth successive defeat of the Warriors.

New Zealand-born Hughes was the chief executioner, bagging the first double of his NRL career with crucial tries either side of halftime.

The 24-year-old did so after switching to halfback, where he played the last 50 minutes after Brodie Croft was forced off with a head knock.

His energy, the craft of Cameron Smith and the toil of a pack led by Dale Finucane allowed Melbourne to take control of a match dogged by blustery winds and a high penalty count.

Despite fielding Josh Addo-Carr, Will Chambers, Cameron Munster and Felise Kaufusi three days after their State of Origin duty, they owned the second half, scoring 24 unanswered points.

Kodi Nikorima was a central figure in all three first-half tries as the Warriors ground out a 10-8 lead.

Nikorima's speed created space for impressive left winger Ken Maumalo to bag his ninth try of the term. The diminutive five-eighth then crossed courtesy of a Blake Green grubber.

However, Nikorima was the villain when Hughes stepped inside him after a neat Smith blindside switch.

Hughes strolled over for his second in contentious fashion, with the Bunker ignoring Warriors claims of obstruction from Finucane on Issac Luke.

Melbourne's late dominance resulted in tries to Suliasi Vunivalu, Jesse Bromwich and Marion Seve.

The Bromwich try was impressive, given Melbourne had been reduced to 12 players following the sin-binning of Christian Welsh for persistent team offending.