NRL 2022: NZ Warriors crushed by second-half Melbourne Storm onslaught in record-breaking defeat

NZ Warriors' long losing streak against Melbourne Storm has turned over its most miserable chapter yet, as they were crushed 70-10 in their annual Anzac Day clash at AAMI Park.

After trailing by just six points at the half, the Warriors were hapless, as the Storm shifted several gears and ran in a staggering 54 unanswered points to consign them to their heaviest defeat in club history.

Wing Xavier Coates scored four tries - including three in the space of just eight minutes - terrorising opposite Edward Kosi on a horror night for the Warriors youngster, while Storm fullback Ryan Papenhuyzen wreaked havoc across the park.

Melbourne finished with 13 tries - 10 in the second half - and have now won 12 straight games against the Warriors, dating back to 2014.

Adding injury to insult, key forward Josh Curran limped off with an knee injury and Dallin Watene-Zelezniak was carted off with concussion, both facing lengthy spells on the sideline.

The Storm opened the scoring with a brilliant display of counterattack, Papenhuyzen pouncing on a spilled pass by Kosi with the tryline begging, then finding Jahrome Hughes inside for the Kiwis half to peel off the final 80m and slide in.

Warriors forward Matt Lodge carries the ball.
Warriors forward Matt Lodge carries the ball. Photo credit: Getty

The Warriors responded immediately, with Chanel Harris-Tavita reading the Storm rush defence and throwing a perfect skip pass for Watene-Zelezniak to run onto and finish spectacularly one-handed in the corner.

Kosi's rough night continued in the 24th minute, when he failed to defuse a straightforward grubber kick to the in-goal and allowed Coates to ground, putting the Storm back in the lead.

Just a minute later, another Warriors mistake led directly to points, as Shaun Johnson's no-look pass under duress floated up for Nick Meaney to grab with ease and go 70m under the crossbar.

Johnson quickly made amends, risking a chip kick on just the second tackle that bounced perfectly to evade a trio of Storm cover defenders and sit up for Wayde Egan to dive upon next to the left upright.

That reduced the Warriors deficit back to four points, but Papenhuyzen cashed in on some Warriors indiscipline with a penalty goal as the half expired, sending the Storm into the sheds with a 16-10 lead.

After another penalty to start the second-half scoring, the Storm crossed the line first from an audacious bomb from forward Nelson Asofa-Solomona, who dropped it on the tryline for Papenhuyzen to soar and claim AFL style, and dot down.

Walsh sent his restart out on the full, allowing the Storm to set up a move that ended with a deft Cameron Munster wide ball for Meaney to claim his second.

Papenhuyzen soon had his brace, fending off some weak defence and burrowing his way to the chalk, quickly followed by Harry Grant exploding from dummy half and powering through his marker to score.

The fullback then turned creator, breaking and grubbering for his wing Coates, then sending him in for his first career hat-trick with a well-timed skip pass.

Moments later, Hughes' long kick sat up for Coates to outsprint the Warriors cover defence for a third try in the space of eight minutes. Hughes then added another try of his own, stepping inside Walsh to dive under the crossbar.

Jesse Bromwich and Justin Olam put the finishing touches on a night to forget for the Warriors, who'll try to erase the memory against Canberra Raiders next weekend.

Storm 70 (Jahrome Hughes 2, Xavier Coates 4, Nick Meaney 2, Ryan Papenhuyzen 2, Harry Grant, Jesse Bromwich, Justin Olam tries; Papenhuyzen 7 goals, Nick Meaney 2 goals) Warriors 10 (Dallin Watene-Zelezniak, Wayde Egan tries; Reece Walsh goal)

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