Melbourne Storm game breakers Greg Inglis and Israel Folau made a mockery of the Gold Coast’s NRL playoff aspirations as they helped the Storm roar home to the tune of 44-4 winning easily at Olympic Park last tonight.
The home side ran in nine tries to one, with 21-year-old Inglis and 19-year-old Folau both grabbing doubles.
The match was effectively over by halftime as Melbourne took a 20-4 lead which would have been even more emphatic had skipper Cam Smith not being unusually off target with his boot and missed four conversions.
The Storm were shock losers to the New Zealand Warriors last round but rebounded to their brilliant best against the injury-struck Titans.
“It was certainly an improved effort on last week,” Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy said.
“I just thought last week it was a real flat 80 minutes for us. The Warriors were really good but there were some things we did a lot better tonight than we did last week.”
Skipper Smith said the loss to the Warriors forced the Storm to concentrate on their own game, rather than the Titans.
“Our performance last week probably helped put the Titans out of the equation for us.
“We just wanted a better performance than last week and certainly I think we did that.”
While Melbourne are eyeing their third successive NRL minor premiership, the Titans’ season looks decidedly shaky after they failed to regain a top-eight position – this loss their sixth in their past seven starts.
They showed plenty of courage but missing a host of injured stars including Scott Prince and Luke Bailey, the home side simply had too much strike power, with fullback Billy Slater also a standout in his return from a week’s suspension.
After winger Steve Turner opened the scoring, Inglis’ first was a special.
The star five-eighth showed his class and brute strength as he drifted across field and palmed off three would-be defenders before touching down.
“He’s a great player and he’s worth whatever he gets paid,” Bellamy responded when asked if Inglis was worth the half million dollars his manager is reportedly asking.
Folau also showed off his power in his two-try effort, both times barrelling across the line and managing to get past centre Gavin Cooper and winger Jordan Atkins to get the ball down twice before the main break.
“Melbourne couldn’t have played much better in the first half,” Gold Coast coach John Cartwright said.
“There’s just no defence to it, they’re a superbly drilled side and when they get guys like Folau close to your try line one on one they’re impossible to tackle.
“I was very happy with the effort of the players.”
MELBOURNE 44 (I Folau 2 G Inglis 2 M Geyer R Hoffman A Quinn J Smith S Turner tries C Smith 4 goals) bt GOLD COAST 4 (J Rapana try) at Olympic Park. Referee: T De Las Heras.