A dominant Melbourne Storm display against the Sydney Roosters saw them buck the historic trend to win 24-6.
Both teams were missing key personnel but the Roosters were the hardest hit.
They had two more players leaving the game early in the first half and will be lucky to return this year.
Mitch Aubusson and Lachlan Lam were those two, coupled with the loss of Luke Keary later in the game.
The Storm did not miss a beat even though their two best players in Cameron Smith and Cameron Munster were both out injured.
It was Jahrome Hughes who lead from the front in the big win.
Through some physical early exchanges from both teams, it was the Storm who got the first try of the match.
Just four minutes in and on the last tackle Hughes, came down the short side of the field to beat four defenders to force his way to the line.
Ryan Papenhuyzen, filling in for Smith with the kicking duties slotted the conversion for a 6-0 Storm lead.
On the back of an obstruction penalty, Papenhuyzen kicked a penalty goal and the Storm took a handy 8-nil lead.
The score line could have been worse for the Roosters but Suliasi Vunivalu was disallowed a try through a knock-on.
The pressure was telling as the Storm would score another try soon after.
Quick hands from a drop-out found Josh Ado-Carr before he passed inside to find Papenhuyzen.
The in-form fullback then threw a slick pass for Justin Olam to score out wide.
Papenhuyzen converted again and the Storm lead 14-nil just over half-way through the first half.
By this stage of the match, the Storm had completed thirteen from thirteen sets to dominate field position and the game.
Again Vunivalu could of troubled the scores nine minutes out from the break.
Remarkably, he was disallowed a second try due to jumping from the touch line to make a play at the ball.
With this try disallowed, the Storm held the score line of 14 nil at the break,
The second half started like the second with an early Storm try, Olam’s second of the game.
Christian Welch’s offload kick-started the play and the promising movement saw the Papua New Guinea nab a double.
The ball quickly went wide to find Olam who left defenders in his wake to ground the ball over the goal-line.
Papenhuyzen missed the conversion and the Storm lead 18-0.
Hughes continued to step up when it mattered, playing a vital role in the Storm’s final try.
He drew in the fullback and found Felise Kaufusi in support to run 30 m to score soon after.
Papenhuyzen converted and the Storm were out to a commanding 24-nil lead.
The Roosters could have had their first try of the game 24 minutes in but Siosiua Taukeiaho was ruled to be held up by the Bunker.
The Roosters would get a try, and it came via winger Christian Tuipolutu.
Jake Friend and Drew Hutchison combined down the left before the bench half floated a ball over the top for the winger to score.
Taukeiaho slotted the conversion from the sideline to cut the deficit to 18 points.
This ended up being the full-time score and made it 8 straight wins for the men from Melbourne.
Roosters coach Trent Robinson admitted that his side was poor and they were outplayed.
“We were poor tonight; we got outplayed,” Robinson said.
“We could talk about injuries and how unlucky we were but we got outplayed.
“We’ve had games before where we’ve finished with one on the bench or none on the bench and played really well … but we didn’t deserve to win.”
Craig Bellamy praised Jahrome Hughes for his masterful display, even if the half is likely to miss time due to a groin injury.
“Having those other two out he really went to another level. I thought he and Papenhuyzen were our best players tonight,” Bellamy added.
“It was certainly his best game as a halfback for us.”
NRL News Player of the Game
3 – Jahrome Hughes
2 – Ryan Papenhuyzen
1 – Justin Olam