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Hill injured as Bulldogs hold off
In this his fourth game back after suffering a bruised rotator cuff in his left shoulder, Hill left the field after just 14 minutes with a partially dislocated right shoulder ? the shoulder he had reconstructive surgery on in 1999.
The injury to Hill further compounded the loss to the Bulldogs and kept the visitors? impressive record over the Storm intact ? Melbourne hasn?t beaten the Bulldogs in Victoria since 1999.
The Storm started the game slowly conceding a try in just the first two minutes and didn?t register its first touchdown until the 42nd minute mark of the second stanza.
The game hung in the balance for much of the afternoon but a 20-minute spurt from the Bulldogs mid way through the second half put an end to any hopes the Storm had of cemented a place in the top half of the eight.
In a worrying sign for the Storm the turning point of the match came with the sin binning of Bulldogs? second rower Steve Reardon.
His removal should have been enough for the Storm to take control of the game but coach Craig Bellamy believed it was the point which kick started the Bulldogs? revival.
?That (sin binning) should have been to our advantage,? Bellamy said. ?We just seemed to lose the plot at that stage.?
After blowing a 12-8 lead early in the second half Bellamy lamented his side?s inability to go for the jugular at a crucial period of the match ? a trait that has reared it?s head on more than one occasion this season.
?It?s just been a problem for us all year in that when we look like we?re getting in charge we just can?t seem to put the foot down,? Bellamy added.
?It?s not a physical thing, we know what process we want to go through in that situation but we just can?t seem to go through it.
?It certainly is a mental problem.?
The Bulldogs scored in the opening minutes of the match through Reardon who scrambled on to a Brent Sherwin grubber to score under the posts.
Melbourne?s first points came from the boot of Matt Orford who slotted a penalty kick in front of the posts after the Bulldogs line was caught offside following a strong bust by David Kidwell.
Disaster struck shortly after. Test lock Hill hit the Bulldogs? bullocking front- rower Mark O?Meley in a heavy front on tackle.
Hill fell to the ground clutching his right shoulder and was carted from the field.
?We had a bad start with the try early and losing Scott,? Bellamy said.
?But losing a key player can happen to all teams and there are no excuses.?
It was Orford?s boot that continued to keep Melbourne in the hunt. He converted another penalty kick after Bulldogs? fullback Luke Patten hit Glenn Turner with a high shot after he broke the line.
But Hazem El Masri converted in the shadows off half time to put the Bulldogs ahead 8-4 at the break.
The second half opened in grand style for the Storm. Only two minutes in captain Stephen Kearney picked up the scraps of a Bulldogs' loose ball to offload to the fleet footed Billy Slater who scooted 70 metres to the line. Orford converted to put the Storm in front for the first time.
He added another two points in the 60th minute following the professional foul on Slater that saw Reardon receive 10 minutes on the sidelines.
Reardon?s departure lifted the Bulldogs but in particular centre Nigel Vagana. The Kiwi international crossed for two tries in the final 20 minutes to lead his team to commanding 20-12 advantage.
To add insult to injury crafty halfback Brett Sherwin intercepted an Orford cut out ball right on the final siren, which saw him score under the posts untouched.
Hill?s fate will be known tomorrow afternoon after he undergoes scans tomorrow morning.
STORM 12 Tries: Slater 1 Goals: Orford 4/4 (3 pen. gls)
BULLDOGS 26 Tries: Reardon 1, Vagana 2, Sherwin 1 Goals: El Mazri 5/5 (1 pen. gls)
For further information contact:
James Avery: Phone (03) 9421 3222 Mobile: 0411 623 024 [email protected]