Melbourne have snapped their two-game NRL losing streak with Cameron Munster orchestrating a 28-8 victory over Manly in their Thursday night clash.
The scoreline flattered the Storm, who mostly looked a shadow of the team that piled on 162 points in three games earlier in the season, with Munster the difference at AAMI Park.
The superstar playmaker scored a try in each half and set up another, answering critics who questioned his patchy form in recent weeks as Melbourne suffered heavy losses to Penrith and North Queensland.
The Storm's attack otherwise looked disjointed, with their spine undergoing yet another change with hooker Harry Grant suffering a match-eve injury to join fullback Ryan Papenhuyzen on the sidelines.
They at least welcomed halfback Jahrome Hughes back from a calf injury with the No.7 outplaying his opponent Daly Cherry-Evans.
But Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy was happy with the performance by his second-placed side..
"We competed really well and didn't seem to panic and showed a lot of patience," Bellamy said.
"I thought we were pretty dominant in the first half; we left a couple of tries out there.
"I really liked the way we started the second half - we had plenty of intent about our running and the desire with our defence.
'It's a nice way to start the weekend."
The Sea Eagles gifted their opponents possession and territory with errors and poor discipline proving costly.
Manly coach Des Hasler was disappointed with several facets of their game.
"We just don't give ourselves a chance, we don't set it up, we don't execute well enough," Hasler said.
"We're disappointing in a number of areas."
Manly also lost interchange back Dylan Walker to a knee injury which Hasler described as "concerning".
Manly were lucky to only trail 12-4 at halftime with their sole try scored by winger Jorge Taufua in his return to first grade after rupturing his Achilles in round 17 in 2020.
Two minutes into the second half Melbourne winger Xavier Coates leapt high to take a Munster bomb and the lead was out to 12 points.
With Queensland State of Origin selection looming on Monday, Munster showed his bag of tricks, stripping the ball from Manly players twice in two minutes and darting through to the line with the second.
The Storm's fifth try, scored in the 65th minute by Kenny Bromwich, sealed the result although Manly winger Christian Tuipulotu dived across in the corner to have the final say.
Australian Associated Press
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