Ryan Papenhuyzen scored a mammoth 28 points on Sunday afternoon as the Melbourne Storm thrashed the Canterbury Bulldogs 44-0 at AAMI Park.
The Storm are priced at 7/2 to win the 2022 NRL grand final and Papenhuyzen looks to be back to his devastating best following a troubled 2021 that saw him miss a large chunk of the campaign.
The star fullback missed 10 games after suffering from the effects of concussion, while the pre-season did not go to plan either as injuries struck again.
However there were no signs of any problems against the Bulldogs as he ran in four tries and booted six conversions to leave coach Craig Bellamy singing his praises.
"I don't know if he's even gone a little bit past last year these last couple of games," Bellamy told reporters after the game.
"He didn't have a great pre- season, he rolled his ankle and probably didn't run for eight weeks but he spent a fair time in the gym there and he's probably a little bit of weight on and it doesn't look like it's affected his pace or his agility.
"He's taking a big hand in deciding where the ball goes and when it goes so he's playing with plenty of confidence."
The Bulldogs are a different side to last year but were off the pace against the Storm and coach Trent Barrett was disappointed to say the least.
"We had we had a lot of ball early in the first half and we needed to come away at some points there in that first 15 minutes," Barrett said. "That'll take some pressure off your defence and give our side a bit of confidence.
"We didn't take our chances and they did and then defensively, decisions under pressure when we're tired. We've been up for three weeks and we got found out today."