Melbourne Storm vs Gold Coast Titans: Five things we learned
Melbourne Storm have kicked of the Suncorp Stadium double header with a 28-14 win over the Gold Coast Titans.
1. Déjà Vu… nearly
At this ground, in this round, just 12 months ago, the Titans pulled off one of the great Rugby League upset over the Melbourne Storm. On that day they overcame a horror injury crisis, and a comeback on the scoreboard. Tonight the Titans went so, so close to doing the same. Don’t let you 28-14 scoreboard fool you, the Titans were right in this game. In fact, if it wasn’t for a wayward pass from Michael Gordon the Titans could very well have won.
Down to zero players on the bench, and 2 of the players left on the field playing injured, it was a truly courageous performance from the Gold Coast, however silly errors and a poor penalty count cost the Titans dearly. So close, yet so far.
2. Storm look off the pace
Although they got there in the end it was hardly a convincing performance from Craig Bellamy’s men. Looking to bounce back from a loss to the Dragons last week many spectators were expecting Melbourne to put on a show against a struggling Titans outfit. In the end the scoreline flattered the Storm, as they made a host of uncharacteristic errors. Normally safe as your house players like, Will Chambers and Billy Slater made multiple errors which resulted in Titans breaks and then tries. Look for the Melbourne side to improve once again next week.
3. Titans patchy throughout
A host of positional changes for the Titans acted as an improvement overall. Centres Dale Copley and Brenko Lee were dangerous in attack and each bagged a try, although Lee did have a few misreads in defense. However the confidence that this new centre pairing played with may worry Konrad Hurrell as he attempts to crack back into the NRL team. Ash Taylor was attempting to bounce back from a shocking performance against the Raiders last week, and he certainly improved putting on a couple of try-assists, however he continued to make the errors that cloud his game at times.
Debutant Alexander Brimson impressed in his first NRL game despite making a costly forward pass error in the second half. Brimson was defensively outstanding and ran the ball well. The rookie almost came up with a try but was held back by Storm enforcer Christian Welch, who was subsequently sent to the sinbin.
4. Injuries galore
It’s difficult to remember a game with as many injuries as this one. The Storm lost half Ryley Jacks for the match to concussion, as well as a head injury to Dale Finucane, who was able to play on despite looking like something from a Stephen King novel. The Gold Coast lost four players throughout the match and at times had not a single player on the bench. Captian Ryan James played to entire game with a shoulder injury and fellow forwards Keegan Hipgrave, Jarrod Wallace, Jack Stockwell and Kevin Proctor all left the field at times throughout the match. Hipgrave and Wallace courageously managed to return, however Stockwell and Proctor were sidelined for the game.
5. Questionable Storm tactics
The Storm have long been criticised for their use of wrestling tactics in tackles and more questions over the Storms technique have arisen in this game. With Cameron Munster holding Kevin Proctor upright, Cameron Smith and Curtis Scott both held one of Proctors legs and stretched them in opposite directions. The act appears to have left Proctor with a groin injury. The incidient went unpenalised live, however the action could face punishment from the judiciary.