Storm run over the top of error-riddled Panthers side

Blake Green

Whilst some might say some of the 50/50 calls went against them, the Penrith Panthers were really their own worst enemy, as they recorded an abysmal completion rate that set up their loss against the Melbourne Storm.

The errors were flying in left, right and centre and the Storm cruised along, punishing the Panthers side for their poor ball-control to record a comfortable win.

The Panthers completion rate hovered around 40% for much of the later stages of the game, with all players guilty of some schoolboy-like errors.

With the Storm missing Billy Slater and several other players due to injury, their replacements stepped up as Cameron Munster showed there is life after the big 3 with a sound performance.

There was also a debut for Richie Kennar, who became the third local Victorian to play for the Storm, and he put in a decent showing in his first game.

But it was all about the Storm’s attacking prowess and fluidity. They were all over the Panthers and it was perhaps the best game by Blake Green in Storm colours.

He scored a double with some crafty runs, composed the game with some smart plays and laid on great passes to set up attacking opportunities.

The Panthers simply tried to do too much to score by pushing offloads and passes that were not on and just missing some standard tackles that gave the Storm time, room and space to roam free in.

Ultimately, they shot themselves in the foot throughout the game. In his first game of the season, Adam Docker started in the back-row but then had to leave the field due to concussion.

The win sees the Storm maintain a top four spot as the Panthers slip out of eight halfway through the season.

Putting in a solid performance in the absence of Slater, Cam Munster still has room to grow and develop but he drew praise from coach Craig Bellamy.

“He’s still sort of finding his way around with the footy to be quite honest, he’s not getting on the ball as much as we’d like but that’s expected because he hasn’t played with these guys, this is only his fifth or sixth game,” Bellamy said.

“I think Munster’s best trait is when he made that tackle down there against David Simmons, he whacked him. He’s not a big guy but he’s brave and he’s tough. He’s still a long way to go for him to learn about the game but those couple of traits are going to make him a good player.”

Although they have been hit hard by injuries this year, thus affecting their combinations, Panthers coach Ivan Cleary knows that it is no excuse.

“With key players missing [it] throws out some of your combinations but as I said we’ve had that most of the year and we have to get on with life,” he said.

“We’ll hopefully have Jamie back but Matt’s not going to be back for a long time, we’re just going to have to get on with life and we can certainly do better than what we did tonight.”

3. Blake Green
2. Cam Munster
1. James Segeyaro

Melbourne Storm 20 (Green 2, Munster tries; Smith 4 goals) defeated Penrith Panthers 0. Crowd 11,849. Half-time: Melbourne 18-0.

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