Melbourne have sent an ominous warning to the rest of the NRL as they racked up a comfortable 42-6 win over the lowly Titans, despite making 13 errors in a largely sloppy game at Sunshine Coast Stadium tonight.
Neither side managed to score any points in the opening 20 minutes, yet the ball control from both sides was dire at best. The Storm were denied a try in the 5th minute when the Bunker found a knock on by Jahrome Hughes as he was attempting to plant the ball down for a try. 11 minutes later the Bunker again ruled ‘no try', this time denying the Titans.
The 20th minute eventually brought points. Cameron Smith at dummy half shaped to set up a play to the right, 5 metres from the Titans line but then sent a crisp, flat ball to Cameron Munster on the right, who ran straight and true to barge over under the posts for a try. Smith then converted
It took just 6 minutes for the Titans to hit back. Paul Momirovski bent over to pick up an awkward grubber, where he juggled it twice but never actually got control of the ball. With the ball all but out of his grasp, he copped a push in the back by Brian Kelly, who then forced the loose ball for a try. Ashley Taylor converted to level the scores.
Jamal Fogarty dropped a pass from the restart and the Storm capitalised immediately when Cameron Munster sent a lobbed pass out to the unmarked Josh Addo-Carr and he dived over in the left corner for a good try. Smith's sideline conversion was spot on.
The Titans produced 3 turnovers in quick succession to give Melbourne ideal field position, which they capitalised on when Nelson Asofa-Solomona steamed onto a crash ball and barrelled his way over the line for a powerful try. Smith added the extras.
Two minutes after halftime, Asofa-Solomona scored his second try. Cameron Smith lets the decoy runner through then pops up a nice ball to Asofa-Solomona who barged over the top of Ash Taylor to score. Smith converted.
In the 51st minute the Storm received a penalty right in front and Smith opted to kick the penalty goal, extending Melbourne's lead to 20.
The Storm crossed again in the 65th minute thanks to back-to-back errors by the Titans. Hughes held up a lovely short ball for Brenko Lee who was unmarked and raced over to score in the right corner. Smith failed to convert from out wide.
In the 73rd minute Brandon Smith ran from dummy half and dived over between two lazy marker defenders and scored a cheeky soft try. Cameron Smith converted yet again.
The Storm picked up a consolation try in the final minutes when Josh Addo-Carr took an intercept and raced 80 metres to score a scintillating try. Smith slotted his 7th goal of the night to seal the 42-6 victory.