Full Time
9:05pm Sat March 10, 2018
Round 1 - Optus Stadium - Crowd: 38824

Match Overview

It was a typical workman-like performance - sprinkled with some Cameron Munster brilliance - that has seen the Melbourne Storm kick off their NRL title defence with a 36-18 win over Canterbury tonight in Perth.

A mammoth 38,824 fans packed in for the two contests (the earlier won by the Warriors over South Sydney) and they're weren't disappointed with plenty of tries at the brand new Optus Stadium.

The Bulldogs shot out of the blocks first, delivering on new coach Dean Pay's promise to revolutionise their attack. Raymond Faitala-Mariner exposed some soft early edge defence from the Storm and Canterbury were ahead 6-0.

By the ten minute mark, Melbourne had hit back with Ryley Jacks slicing his way over under the sticks, Cameron Smith converting to level the scores. A penalty to the 'Dogs minutes later put the nominal home side ahead by two.

A high ball to the far corner tipped down by Josh Addo-Carr was pounced on by Curtis Scott for the second Melbourne try, but again Canterbury responded, and scores were level at 12-all after just 20 minutes.

From there Melbourne kicked it up a notch. Come the half-hour mark, Addo-Carr ably assisted Cameron Munster on a line-break to finish off a great backfield move, before Kenny Bromwich was the beneficiary of more Munster magic just before halftime.

Leading 24-12 at the break, Melbourne had a few opportunities to get on the board first after the resumption, but it was the 'Dogs who struck after 53 minutes when Matt Frawley benefited from a series of ricochets at the end of a set. Mbye's conversion narrowed the margin to six.

Canterbury's promising attack looked certain to earn them a leveller until Moses Mbye effectively handed Josh Addo-Carr the ball, Melbourne's speedy winger sprinting 90 metres to ensure his side would lead by twelve with 17 minutes remaining.

A grandstand finish seemed likely when Danny Fualalo reached out in the 72nd minute, but a Bunker review confirmed the lock had lost control of the ball. Two minutes later the Storm scored at the other end through Vunivalu, sealing the result.

Melbourne take their 36-18 win home to AAMI Park next Saturday where they'll host the Wests Tigers while celebrating game 300 for Billy Slater. Canterbury are back in Sydney away to the Roosters at Allianz on Friday evening.

3. Cameron Munster

Split the Bulldogs apart and created so many chances and half chances

2. Josh Addo-Carr

A key part and a great intercept highlighted the night.

1. Moses Mbye

A good solid performance in a beaten side at fullback, looked dangerous in attack