It was master versus apprentice as Cameron Smith’s Melbourne Storm faced a West Tigers side who’s forward pack was led by on-loan Harry Grant.
It took just five minutes for the Storm to take the lead, as Jahrome Hughes kicked ahead and Suliasi Vunivalu just about gathered the ball and dotted down.
Just before the tenth minute, the Storm doubled up.
Hughes and Cameron Munster combined as they ball was shifted to the left edge and Josh Addo-Carr beat the tackle of David Nofoaluma to score in the corner.
Just after the 15th minute mark, the Tigers began to work themselves back into the contest after Benji Marshall threw a beautiful spin pass out to Asu Kepaoa to dive over in the corner.
The Storm then extended their lead with their next attacking set.
Nico Hynes collected the ball out the back, and with just Nofoaluma to beat, stepped inside the winger and scored.
The Tigers hit back with around 15 minutes to go until the break.
Josh Aloiai received the ball from Harry Grant and the Tigers forward powered over Kenny Bromwich and score Wests second of the night
Just two minutes later, Hughes kicked to the corner and Vunivalu climbed higher than Kepaoa and score his second.
Hughes then turned scorer as he spotted a gap in a dogged Wests line and beat the defenders on the outside before gliding through and dotting down.
With four minutes to go until the break, Luke Garner was penalised for a push on Nico Hynes as they chased for a loose ball.
This meant the second-rower spent the next ten minutes in the sin-bin.
In the final two minutes of the half, the Storm crossed once again.
An ugly fifth tackle kick from Marshall bounced for Justin Olam.
He only had once player to beat before the released Addo-Carr on the left wing.
The Melbourne winger beat the attempts of Nofaoluma, Harry Grant and Adam Doueihi to just breeze in for his second.
HALF-TIME: Melbourne Storm 32-10 Wests Tigers
The Tigers should have scored with half an hour to go.
However, Grant’s kick, fooled everybody, including Kepaoa, who knocked the ball on in his attempt to gather the ball.
Two minutes later, Kepaoa made up for his mistake as he latched onto another pearl of a pass from Marshall and raced into the corner and score.
With 24 minute to go, Wests began to gain serious momentum.
Sam McIntyre double pumped the ball and passed out the back to Doueihi who skipped to the outside and ran around to score behind the posts.
Despite the Tigers being on the front foot, an injury to Josh Aloiai suddenly changed things.
The Storm looked to target the middle of the park before Felise Kaufusi stepped through the line with ease and released Justin Olam to score.
Melbourne picked up an eighth try in unusual circumstances.
Kaufusi played the ball, which was then moved out of the way by Luciano Leilua.
Cameron Smith played on, as he kicked the loose ball, which then ricocheted off Russell Packer, and Smith grounded the loose ball and overtake his coach, Craig Bellamy, in career tries.
With just under five minutes to go, Cameron Smith exploited the injury to Nofoaluma, and kicked back to the short side for Tino Faasuamaleaui to ground the ball.
Smith then converted to make it 50-22.
Hynes, Vunivalu, Lee, Olam, Addo-Carr, Munster, Hughes, J. Bromwich, C. Smith, Faasuamaleaui, Kaufusi, K. Bromwich, Asofa-Solomona
Interchanges: T. Eisenhuth, Kamimamica, B. Smith, King
Tries: Vunivalu (2), Addo-Carr (2), Hynes, Hughes, Olam, C. Smith, Faasuamalaeui
Goals: C. Smith (7/9)
Doueihi, Nofoaluma, J. Leilua, Lawrence, Kepaoa, Reynolds, Marshall, Aloiai, Grant, Mikaele, McIntyre, L. Leilua, M. Eisenhuth
Interchanges: Musgrove, Packer, Garner, Liddle
Tries: Kepaoa (2), Aloiai, Doueihi
Goals: Doueihi (3/4)
Referee: G. Sutton
Touch Judges: T. Smith, P. Gough
Video Referee: A. Klein
Image Source: @NRL (twitter)