Matt Utai

Many fans were expecting a clinical performance and result by the Wests Tigers, due to last night’s clash being only the third time for the Storm, that they were without Billy Slater, Cooper Cronk and Cameron Smith, all in the same game.

In what was Craig Bellamy’s 250th game in charge of the Storm, what fans thought, clearly did not materialise – as the Storm fought hard and valiantly, even in the absence of three of the game’s best players.

With the score deadlocked at 2-2 all at half-time, it was the Tigers who raced out to a 10-2 lead in the second half, and despite a gallant effort from the Storm to get back into the game, they fell just short, losing 10-6.

It was the resolve that it is instilled in the Melbourne team, that kept them in the game for so long, but they simply could not penetrate the Tigers line for a second time, to potentially take the game to golden point, if not to win.

With fullback Tim Moltzen ruled out after the team warm-up with a hip injury, and Liam Fulton suffering back spasms, Tigers coach Tim Sheens said that both players should be fine for next week.

“It was hard to come up with points … the two early (second-half) tries surprised me,” he said.

“At the end of the day we just defended it but it was a tough night and the conditions were heavy going so I was really pleased with the squad.”

Despite their win however, captain Benji Marshall said that the team was not getting carried away with their victory, given the absence of the Storm’s big 3.

“We’re just happy to get the two points,” Marshall said.

“If we play them again it’s going to be a different story with those players there.”

For Storm coach Craig Bellamy, he labelled his side’s defence as “tremendous”, and felt that it was the lack of execution in attack, that let them down.

“We couldn’t quite find our rhythm with attack,” Bellamy said.

“We made some ground and some linebreaks but we couldn’t quite finish it off.

“We didn’t have the polish, especially with our kicking close to the line.”

By ricky

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