In a tale of two halves, the Melbourne Storm found something extra in the second to record a narrow win over a spirited Gold Coast Titans side.
In what was Billy Slater’s last game in Queensland, it would be his opponents, the Titans, who came out the stronger.
With just 37 percent possession in the first half, the Storm failed to make the most of any chances they had.
The Titans, however, did not. AJ Brimson scored the first try of the match, slicing through off a Kane Elgey pass.
A further penalty goal then put the Titans up 8-0 and they seemed in command of the match.
Chances then ensued as the Storm spilled the ball close to the line before the Titans were denied courtesy of a try-saver from Josh Addo-Carr.
With the weight of possession, the Titans would have been ruing their inability to score further points.
The errors and penalties creeped into the Titans game and the Storm are a team that you do not give such luxury to.
The signs were looking ominous and in true Storm fashion, they pounced via Curtis Scott.
Scott ducked inside Titans centre Konrad Hurrell before beating Will Matthews to score and it was game-on.
Cameron Munster then flipped the game on its head when he went it alone, dummying three times before ducking through a gap.
The Storm took the lead for the first time when Smith slotted the conversion.
The win puts the Storm two points ahead of their nearest rivals with a game to play as they chase a third consecutive minor premiership.
Titans coach Garth Brennan was critical of his side’s inability to control the game and the possession.
“Game management is so important, and the players around Ash (Taylor) and ‘Elg’ [Elgey] need to help them out more,” Brennan admitted.
“There were times in the second half when we defended a set and got the ball back and we were just hanging on instead of showing some tough energy and actually doing something with the ball.
“We need to be finishing our sets better instead of just playing dumb football on the last tackle.”
Despite Brodie Croft playing his part in the Storm win, coach Craig Bellamy admits they are still undecided on who should play the halfback role.
“Brodie did a really good job last week and I thought he did a really good job today (against the Titans),” Bellamy said.
“We’ll have a look at today’s game and have a discussion with a couple of senior players and make a decision from there.
“It’s not an easy one without a doubt but we will do what we think is best for the team.
“The amount of footy those guys have played is not a lot, especially for that position.”
Player of the Game:
3. AJ Brimson
2. Billy Slater
- Cameron Munster