STORM 50 WARRIORS 10
The Warriors went searching for glory but received a rude awakening in their Anzac Day NRL defeat to Melbourne.
The Auckland-based outfit might have been missing Shaun Johnson and Tohu Harris, but their presence would have helped little against the rampant and ruthlessly clinical reigning premiers.
The loss of in-form hooker Issac Luke to a knee injury after just 16 minutes further blunted their attacking hopes, and a miserable night was made worse with news the former Kiwis international is facing six weeks on the sidelines.
A near-perfect first half saw Craig Bellamy's side stun the visitors with a six-try onslaught giving Melbourne an emphatic 38-0 halftime lead in front of a sell-out crowd of 25,731 fans at AAMI Park.
The Warriors salvaged some respect after the break with right wing David Fusitu'a scoring twice to extend his tally at the top of the NRL's try-scoring list to 10, but Storm left wing Josh Addo-Carr and halfback Ryley Jacks claimed their second four-pointers to bring up the half-century.
"We came up against a team that executed really well and we just couldn't get ourselves back into the contest in that first half," said Warriors coach Stephen Kearney.
"They had a lot of possession and they went bang, bang, bang with three tries that really flattened us out.
"It taught us a bit about ourselves in a couple of areas so that's the lesson for us, is making sure we take the learnings from that and move forward."
The 40-point defeat continues the Warriors five-game losing run against the Storm and is their sixth Anzac Day loss in nine meetings in Melbourne since the fixture was introduced in 2009.
The eight-tries-to-two result is their second loss following their round six defeat to Brisbane, with the only positive being that they retain their place in second spot on the NRL ladder.
After beginning their campaign with five consecutive wins the Warriors have struggled for consistency in the last three weeks following a flat effort at home against the Broncos, before an impressive showing last week saw them hand the Dragons their first defeat of the year.
The desperation and intensity that defined that gusty performance was sorely missing early on as the Warriors struggled to put Melbourne's ball carriers to ground or make a dent in the home side's defensive line.
However, Kearney doubted their short five day turn-around was a factor in his side's poor showing.
"That's not an excuse. They had a short turnaround too. I don't think that we can use that as a factor," he said.
"Whether that played a part I'm not 100 per cent sure but we need to learn from that if it did play a part in the performance.
"We just weren't quite ready for them tonight and they executed supremely well. It was one of those nights."
The Warriors were off in attack and defence, with normally reliable captain Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, five-eighth Blake Green and fill-in halfback Mason Lino struggling to wield any influence behind a pack struggling for go-forward.
The Storm enjoyed the perfect start with halfback Jacks and former Warriors captain Hoffman scoring early on from kicks in behind the line that caught the visitors napping, while the Warriors failed to capitalise on their own scoring chances.
The visitors then saw the result slip away in a frenetic four minute period that saw them starved of the ball and unable to halt Melbourne's momentum as forward Christian Welch, fullback Billy Slater and right wing Young Tonumaipea crossed to see them trail 30-0 lead inside the second quarter.
The Warriors had no response and their confidence looked shot to pieces when Addo-Carr breezed through four weak tackles on an 80 metre run to the line for their sixth four-pointer.
Errors and ill-discipline spoiled any efforts to claw their way back before Smith kicked a penalty for his seventh goal to send the Warriors trudging to the sheds in disbelief at the scoreline.
Fusitu'a's brace gave them some confidence but the Storm had them covered in all areas and left them looking for answers ahead of their next match against Wests Tigers at Mt Smart Stadium on May 5.
Warriors 10 (David Fusitu'a tries, Mason Lino 1 con)
Storm 50 (Ryley Jacks 2, Ryan Hoffman, Christian Welch, Billy Slater, Young Tonumaipea, Josh Addo-Carr 2 tries, Cameron Smith 8 cons, 1 pen)