NRL 2021: Melbourne Storm thrash Sydney Roosters as Kiwi Jahrome Hughes stars

The Melbourne Storm have laid down a marker in their NRL title defence, thrashing thrashed the Sydney Roosters 20-4 on Friday. 

Kiwi Jahrome Hughes played a big part in the three-tries-to-one victory with 92 run metres, a try of his own, two line breaks four broken tackles as the Storm moved up to second on the ladder. 

Melbourne dominated the fiery and passionate first half with both sides coming up with a mountain of errors that saw attacking opportunities squandered. 

The flash-point of the opening stanza was the sin-binning of Roosters lock Victor Radley for a high tackle on Cameron Munster that saw the five-eight go off for a head injury assessment. 

For all the Storm's pressure, they could only manage the two Munster penalty goals to take 4-0 lead into the sheds. 

The second half saw Melbourne run rampant, which was led by a clinical performance from hooker Harry Grant. 

His class stood out in the bruising contest between the two best sides of the past decade, with the hooker setting up two tries and scoring one of his own.

Grant had a hand in four-pointers to Hughes and Ryan Papenhuyzen, before he crossed for game's final try in the 68th minute to ice a superb individual display.

"Harry was wonderful for us last week and he was wonderful again tonight," Melbourne Storm Coach Craig Bellamy said.

"But I thought Brandon played strong for us tonight and they did a real good job in the first 20 minutes of the second half when they were going in tandem.

"Our improvement can come from the combinations of those two guys with the rest of the team and particular the spine and I think there are some good times ahead for this team."

In the early game on Friday, the Cronulla Sharks suffered another last-gasp defeat, this time at the hands of the Newcastle Knights. 

After a horror week, which saw the messy departure of head coach John Morris three days earlier, the Sharks turned a 20-12 deficit into a 22-20 lead with 13-minutes play. But the Knights broke Sharks hearts when Newcastle fullback Kalyn Ponga scored the match winning try. 

Ponga overcame a stomach bug to score two tries, and set up two more for Mitch Barnett and Brodie Jones, to help the Knights end a three-game losing streak. 

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