World Club Challenge: Melbourne Storm 38-4 Leeds Rhinos

Cameron Smith holds the World Club Challenge trophy aloft
Melbourne Storm captain Cameron Smith (with trophy) has won all three of the World Club Challenge matches in which he has played
World Club Challenge
Melbourne Storm (18) 38
Tries: J Bromwich, Croft, Vunivalu, Asofa-Solomona, Kaufusi, Chambers, Finucane Goals: Smith 4, Munster
Leeds Rhinos (4) 4
Try: Hall

Leeds Rhinos missed out on a record-equalling fourth World Club Challenge win, losing 38-4 to Melbourne Storm.

The Rhinos put in a dogged display against the reigning NRL champions, but Storm proved too strong on home soil.

Leeds led early with Ryan Hall's try, before Storm responded through Jesse Bromwich, Brodie Croft and Suliasi Vunivalu to lead 18-4 at half-time.

Nelson Asofa-Solomona, Felise Kaufusi, Will Chambers and Dale Finucane sealed a convincing Melbourne victory.

Leeds were not helped by injuries suffered by Jack Walker and Stevie Ward, which left them short on numbers during an energy-sapping second half.

Melbourne lost Billy Slater to a shoulder problem at half-time, but Storm pressed on without their World Cup-winning full-back to repeat their World Club Challenge wins of 2010 and 2013 over the Rhinos.

Storm have joined Wigan on four World Club Challenge victories, although their 2010 success was expunged because they breached salary cap regulations.

While Leeds have already played - and won - twice in Super League this season, Melbourne do not start their National Rugby League campaign until 10 March.

However, there was little sign of on-field rustiness from the hosts, who ran in 38 unanswered points following the early score by England winger Hall.

Australian sides have now won five of the past six annual World Club Challenge matches, with Wigan's 2017 victory over Cronulla the solitary success for a Super League club since Leeds' most recent win in 2012.

Brodie Croft scores for Melbourne Storm
Brodie Croft's try put Melbourne Storm in front midway through the first half - a lead they did not relinquish

'We'll learn some massive lessons' - post-match reaction

Leeds head coach Brian McDermott:

"I'd like to say that, given 10 games like that, by game eight or nine or game 10, I reckon we'd be up to that level.

"So we'll learn some massive lessons from that. But unfortunately it will be another couple of games before we're in a game as intense as that and in one played at that level.

"It was always a challenge to come here and try to throw something at Melbourne which would trouble them. Five drives and a kick wouldn't have, so we had to try something different.

"But, when you use the ball a bit more than you normally do, you run the risk of making errors and those errors killed us, they gassed us out.

"I thought Melbourne's defence was outstanding, it was suffocating, and the more game went on the better they got, they really warmed up to it.

"We came up with challenging plays and tried to get some second phase going but they were just smothering, it was awesome defence."

Melbourne: Slater; Vunivalu, Chambers, Scott, Addo-Carr; Munster, Croft; Bromwich, C Smith, Glasby, Kaufusi, Hoffman, Finucane.

Replacements: B Smith, Asofa-Solomona, K Bromwich, Welch.

Leeds: Walker; Briscoe, Watkins, Sutcliffe, Hall; Moon, Myler; Cuthbertson, Parcell, Singleton, Jones-Buchanan, Ablett, Ward.

Replacements: Dwyer, Delaney, Keinhorst, Ormondroyd.

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