FIRE DOUSED | After returning to finals action in 2015, the St George-Illawarra Dragons struggled un...
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Melbourne put on nine tries to the Titans one in a performance that can be described as near perfect. They dominated both field position and ball possession from the get go. They also received the better end of the penalty count due to some avoidable ill-discipline from the Gold Coast throughout crucial periods of the match - allowing Melbourne an easy ride out of their half to attack with exciting flare.
The Storm opened the scoring in the 5th minute after some strong free-flowing play in the opening stages of the match. They capitalised off a Titans error inside the Gold Coast half, and by throwing the ball through the hands out wide it resulted in a charging and determined Ryan Hoffman to score.
They scored again in the 9th minute off the back of some brilliant play from Storm hero Israel Folau. He brushed off a few Titans defenders close to the line, just falling short, so he flicked the ball out the back to an un-marked Steve Turner, who gladly accepted the four points.
In the 14th minute, a simple try went to Melbourne halfback in Cooper Cronk, who after receiving a ball from Cameron Smith close to the line, shimmied and stepped and barged over to score. In the 23rd minute they crossed again through Anthony Quinn out wide.
Throughout the remaining period of the first half, the Titans managed to hold Melbourne out, until the 40th minute, when an absolute monster of a kick from Greg Inglis saw Mat Rodgers knock on, giving the Storm a gifted scrum 10m out in front of the posts with just seconds remaining. The Storm then attacked through Matt King, who ironically beat Rodgers to score with ease. It ended a brilliant first half for the Storm - they were up 28-0.
After the break, Melbourne came out to score first through Greg Inglis who showed some class, put on a show, and chipped ahead for himself before getting a nice bounce to regather, step, and race away ahead of former teammate Jake Webster to score. But the Titans hit back in the 55th minute - finally putting points on the board - when a Preston Campbell grubber kick found Mark Minichiello.
But the Storm then raced away, when in the 64th minute Folau notched up his 21st try for this season, breaking a record in the process. In the 72nd minute Crocker ran through to register some points, and then finally - in the 79th minute - an ecstatic Billy Slater ran through a hole to crack the 50.
The game brings an end to the Gold Coast