Melbourne Storm extended their advantage at the NRL summit as South Sydney Rabbitohs' slump continued with defeat to Penrith Panthers on Saturday.
Cameron Munster engineered a comfortable win for in-form Melbourne, their fifth in a row, as they ran in six tries against Newcastle Knights.
Jahrome Hughes and Josh Addo-Carr crossed in the first half for the Storm, who then cut loose after the break to run out convincing 34-4 winners.
The Knights arrived at AAMI Park on a six-match winning run but never threatened to upset the leaders, despite Hymel Hunt's try in the 47th minute.
Joe Stimson grabbed a brace of tries as Melbourne moved through the gears, Cameron Smith landing five of his six conversion attempts. They now sit four points clear in the table after nearest rivals South Sydney suffered a third successive loss.
Despite being without brothers George, Sam and Tom Burgess, the Rabbitohs appeared to seize control of the contest with a 12-point blitz in the space of three minutes, Liam Knight and Dane Gagai crossing for tries that the latter also converted.
However, winger Brian To’o finished in the corner to make it 18-18 before James Maloney's 74th-minute drop goal secured the Panthers a fourth successive win, lifting them to within two points of the top eight.
In Saturday's final fixture, Parramatta Eels bounced back from a heavy loss away at Cronulla by demolishing Brisbane Broncos 38-10 at Bankwest Stadium. The Eels wrapped up the win by the halfway stage, scoring 26 unanswered points in the first 40 minutes.
Josh Hoffman grabbed two tries in the game while prolific winger Maika Sivo crossed for the 10th time in his last eight outings.