Hughes guides Storm to Warriors thumping

·3-min read

Halfback Jahrome Hughes has set up four tries to pilot Melbourne to a rousing 42-20 victory over the Warriors in their traditional Anzac Day clash at AAMI Park.

Following a solemn ceremony in a blacked out stadium, it was all purple as the Storm raced to a 26-4 halftime lead, with Hughes having a hand in all but one of the five tries in the opening 40 minutes.

He won the Anzac Medal as best on ground, with Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy lauding him as the stand-out of this season.

"He was our best player, quite easily," Bellamy said.

"In his first half hour he had spiders on him and I thought his kicking game was pretty good and his defence for most of the game was really good.

"He's been a real key for us to be honest."

Ex-Bulldogs back Reimis Smith finished with a double as did winger Josh Addo-Carr among the final haul of eight, while Warriors winger Ken Maumalo collected a hat-trick.

The Warriors pulled off a shock before kick-off, naming superstar fullback Roger Tuivasa-Sheck at wing and blooding 18-year-old Reece Walsh, who only joined from the Broncos two weeks ago.

Walsh fumbled his first touch but added some spark to the Warriors attack and also earned two try assists for Maumalo.

But the surprise switches did little to rattle the Storm who had their first try after three minutes.

Rangy centre Smith fended off the defence and popped a pass for Hughes, who nudged through a kick off the side of his boot for winger George Jennings to touch down in the corner.

While the Warriors struck back through Maumalo, Jennings' night was soon over when he suffered a head knock in a tackle, with Warriors' second-rower Josh Curran sent to the sin-bin.

Melbourne pushed the lead out to 12-4 while Curran was off, with Hughes putting Felise Kaufusi through a hole.

In the space of six minutes Hughes also set up tries for Nicho Hynes, who replaced injured fullback Ryan Papenhuyzen, and Smith in a commanding display.

Ben Murdoch-Masila spun through some Storm defence to open the second half with a Warriors try before the home side cranked up their attack again.

Maumalo managed to dot down in the 78th minute to bank his third and final try but it was the Storm who were celebrating.

Warriors coach Nathan Brown said the top five teams, with the Storm now at fourth, were playing the game at a different speed.

"In that first period Melbourne played a lot faster than a lot of the other teams do ... the top five teams they have one comp going," Brown said.

"It's like the speed limit in Europe, where you can drive whatever speed and all the rest of us are playing in Australia.

"There's one speed limit here and one for all the top teams so the challenge for us is to catch up to them."