An undermanned Newcastle Knights were out-classed 30-10 by defending NRL premiers Melbourne Storm in Saturday's trial in Albury.
With seven regular starting players - Kalyn Ponga, Blake Green, Lachlan Fitzgibbon, Edrick Lee, Mitch Barnett, Hymel Hunt and Kurt Mann - all missing, the Knights were expected to be up against it in their only pre-season hit-out before their round one clash against the Bulldogs in 13-days time.
The Storm were close to full strength and with both sides having their best available sides out there in the first half, Melbourne scored three tries to lead 18-0 at the break.
A lack of cohesion and mistakes with the football proved the Knights undoing with Melbourne capitalising.
Knights coach Adam O'Brien made wholesale changes at halftime, resting the bulk of his main squad and would have been really happy with the performances of fringe players such as English recruit Dominic Young and wingers Dylan Lucas and Brayden Musgrove in the final 40.
With new recruit Tyson Frizell playing his first game for the club and hooker Jayden Brailey returning from a knee reconstruction, the Knights defence held firm for the opening quarter of the game but the Storm got on top to run in three tries to be coasting at halftime.
Lively young Melbourne winger Dean Ieremia crossed untouched in the corner after the Knights left edge defence was caught short for a 6-0 advantage after 19 minutes and Jahrome Hughes made it 12-0 eight minutes later when he scored through some flimsy defence. Fullback Ryan Papenhuyzen converted both.
Right on halftime, hooker Harry Grant laid on a try for prop Nelson Asofa-Solomona with a grubber behind the Knights defence close to Newcastle's line. Nicho Hynes added the extra two.
Melbourne added two more converted tries after the break with the Knights responding with two of their own through Lucas and Young.
While Newcastle's attack looked rusty and they gave up two much possession to the Storm, they got through the 80 minutes without any injuries which was a real plus.
Winger Starford To'a had some good moments and is certain to be in the side for the season opener against the Bulldogs in the absence of the injured Lee.