Rugby League

Storm fall to shock loss against Titans

Melbourne Storm had their effort questioned last week, and now their discipline will come under fire after a shock 38-34 loss to the Gold Coast Titans at Cbus Super Stadium on Saturday.

The loss puts the Storm at a 1-2 win-loss start to the new season, and they have forward Eliesa Katoa and Jahrome Hughes facing nervous waits following contentious tackles in the match.

The Storm are already missing a number of key players but still had star playmakers such as Harry Grant, who set up three tries and made a team-high 41 tackles.

Storm coach Craig Bellamy lambasted his players for a lack of effort in last week’s loss to Canterbury Bulldogs but on Saturday it was their discipline which wasn’t up to scratch, losing the penalty count 8-5 and making 17 errors, which led to a substandard 63 per cent completion rate.

In typically warm Gold Coast conditions, including 81 per cent humidity, the Storm conceded 11 errors before the hour mark, topped off by a drop from Hughes inside the attacking 20 metres, which was gleefully picked up by centre Aaron Schoupp, who returned it for an 80-metre try.

Reimis Smith of the Storm is tackled during the round three.Credit:Getty Images

Hughes had drawn himself to the attention of the match review committee in the early stages after he appeared to lead with his shoulder as he challenged Titans half-back Tanah Boyd after he kicked the ball. He wasn’t placed on report by officials, but the match review will scrutinise it.

While the Storm sweat on Hughes’ immediate future, they will hope Katoa, one of their best performers who ran for team-best 144 all-run metres, will avoid punishment after he was placed on report for a high tackle on Titans captain Tino Fa’asuamaleaui.

Tino Fa’asuamaleaui of the Titans makes a run. Credit:Getty Images

Fa’asuamaleaui slipped as Katoa attempted the tackle, which contributed to the high contact. He passed a head injury assessment and returned to the field, which could aid in Katoa avoiding a ban.

The positives for the Storm were that Xavier Coates, Justin Olam, Tui Kamikamica and Tariq Sims all returned from injury.

Olam was exceptional early with his tackling and ball-running while Sims and Coates both scored tries, but Sims was removed in the last minute after appearing to take a knock to the head.

Young NSW playmaker Jonah Pezet also made his debut for the Storm, and he made it a memorable one, scoring the first try and setting up Sims.

Pezet, 20, had 35 family and friends at the game, and he did well in the five-eighth role so may receive more game time until Cameron Munster makes his return from a broken finger.

Nick Meaney finished with two tries for the Storm and the team gave themselves a chance at victory in the last two minutes after Coates scored off a Grant kick, but their last full attack was stopped early when winger Will Warbrick was dragged over the sideline by the Titans’ defence.

The Titans, who improve to 2-1 this season, attacked with vigour led by AJ Brimson at full-back and young winger Alofiana Khan-Pereira, who scored two tries in the first 20 minutes.

Melbourne will need to lift their performance to avoid the losses piling up, starting with next Friday’s home game against Wests Tigers at AAMI Park from 6pm (AEDT).

Most Viewed in Sport

From our partners

Source: Read Full Article