Melbourne Storm held off a late surge from St George-Illawarra Dragons to start their NRL campaign with a hard-fought 18-16 win on Monday.
Two St George tries handed the Dragons an early 10-0 lead but a Marika Koroibete double helped Melbourne - looking to go one better than their run to the preliminary finals in 2015 - to a 12-10 half-time advantage.
The two sides each added a try apiece in an absorbing second half in which the Dragons finished the stronger, but the Melbourne defence held firm to clinch a 12th consecutive round-one win.
St George struck twice within the first 15 minutes, Jason Nightingale going over in the left corner and Benji Marshall crossing from close range after the Dragons had done an excellent job of keeping the ball alive.
Melbourne responded almost immediately following Marshall's score, Billy Slater's looping pass setting up Koroibete, who was the beneficiary of more quick hands as he raced to the corner for his second in the 24th minute following a long spell of Storm pressure.
Two Cameron Smith penalties edged the Storm in front, with former Melbourne man Gareth Widdop missing a two-pointer at the other end on the stroke of half-time.
Smith was involved again as the Storm looked to have taken command, collecting a Jesse Bromwich offload and feeding Kenny Bromwich to crash over.
Smith's conversion made it 18-10 to the Storm but Tyson Frizell pounced after Koroibete spilled a high Marshall kick to trim the gap to two.
However, St George could not capitalise on a late spell of possession in the Storm half as their wait for a first win in Melbourne since 1999 goes on.