Storm too strong in Melbourne

Storm too strong in Melbourne
Competition – NRL Premiership
Round – Round 02
Teams – Melbourne Storm v Gold Coast Titans
Date – 13th of March 2016
Venue – AAMI Park, Melbourne VIC
Photographer – Brett Crockford
Description –

The Aquis Gold Coast Titans have surrendered a 10-6 lead five minutes before half-time to be outplayed by Melbourne Storm 34-16 at AAMI Park.

The Titans had the Storm rattled once they gained some control midway through the first half but lacked composure as Melbourne warmed into the game and were made to pay dearly for handling errors.

However, they played aggressively to the end but Storm king-pins Cameron Smith, Cooper Cronk and the emerging Cameron Munster stood out as the Storm took advantage of opportunities given them in the Titans’ end.

After somewhat of a scratchy start the Titans were on the back foot early after Storm and Australian captain Cameron Smith put a near grubber through from dummy half near the Titans try line and Dale Finucane got behind David Mead and scored in the third minute. Smith converted for 6-0.

It took a while for the Titans to get any good ball in the Storm half but at first opportunity they took advantage with a neat grubber kick on the right by Ash Taylor enabled Josh Hoffman to get through and force the ball for 6-4 in the 16th minute.

Five minutes later and centre Nathan Davis had his first NRL try after a shift to the right by Tyrone Roberts and good final pass near the line from Greg Bird. This time Roberts was on target for the Titans to lead 10-6.

They had the upper hand for a good while from then but the game changed dramatically in the final five minutes of the half. After the Storm dropped the ball in our quarter, Luke Douglas came up with a spill on the third tackle and the Storm were back on attack.

Blake Green dummied and put a right foot step on Agnatius Paasi and got through the line to score next to the posts, to give Smith an easy conversion for a 12-10 lead.

A 40-20 early in the next set gave the Storm one last shot in the half and they took advantage with Will Chambers scoring in the right corner after beating Josh Hoffman sith a right foot step. Smith converted from out wide and the Titans went into the sheds after a 12-point turnaround had put them on their heels after a dominant 20-minute period.

That’s why the Storm are such a successful side, and our boys had to try to counter early in the second half.

However, the Storm had the early flow of possession and momentum. And 14 minutes into the second half Cameron Munster, who scored three tries against us in Melbourne last year, crossed on the right after David Shillington coughed up the ball early in the count. He beat Taylor then pushed away Zeb Taia on the line.

Smith was on target again and the Storm had run away to a 24-10 lead.

Four minutes later Melbourne were in again when Cooper Cronk kicked towards the right corner and winger Young Tonumaipea leapt highest and regained possession and shook off the defence to clamber over. Smith missed his first kick of the day but the Storm were in control at 28-10 – a 22-point turnaround in 20 minutes.

With 15 minutes to go the Titans were made to pay for another error when Tyrone Roberts failed to find touch from a penalty after Nathan Davis was lifted in a tackle. Instead of being on the attack on the Storm line, they took the ball upfield and Chambers and Tonumaipea combined from 60m out for Chambers to score his second. Smith converted for 34-10.

Ryan James ended the 28-point Storm rush by scoring six minutes to play when he chased a kick and smashed Munster around the shoulders and forced the ball loose. It was picked up by Tyrone Roberts who passed to James who ran under the posts while the Storm fans booed and begged for a penalty.

It went to the video bunker but it was ruled first contact was below the shoulders. Bird converted for 34-16.

The Titans made far too many errors to keep the well-drilled Storm in check and never recovered from the two try turnaround just before half-time.

Melbourne Storm 34 (Chambers 2, Finucane, Green, Tonumaipea, Munster tries; Smith 5 goals) beat Aquis Gold Coast Titans 16 (Davis, Hoffman, James tries; Roberts, Bird goals) at AAMI Park.





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