Melbourne has been defeated 10-20 by the Canterbury Bulldogs at Suncorp Stadium in the club’s final trial of the 2014 pre-season.
Tuning up for their Round 1 opener against Manly in two weeks time, Storm will take plenty of positives out of the match, with several of the squad’s senior members making their first outing of 2014.
Melbourne started the contest brightly in front of 10,000 spectators in Brisbane, earning repeat sets off the back of a Cameron Smith chip kick and then a penalty, forcing the Bulldogs onto the back foot early.
A Bulldogs error lead to another repeat set for Storm with Craig Bellamy’s side capitalising on the mistake. Pushing the Bulldogs defence deep into their own half, Mahe Fonua kicked to his own advantage in the left corner to regather and score the first points of the evening.
After two disallowed tries, one for either side, the Bulldogs responded to level the scores just after the half hour mark. Former Storm winger Chase Stanley completed Canterbury’s move, stretching Melbourne on the right wing with just eight minutes remaining in the half.
Josh Morris handed Canterbury the lead shortly after the resumption of play in the second half. The winger collected a high ball, opening up a six-point lead.
With fatigue kicking in throughout the match, both sides struggled to fashion dangerous attacking opportunities. Storm pushed forward time and again in an attempt to cut the lead but couldn’t find a way through the Bulldogs defence.
Canterbury absorbed Melbourne’s attacking forays throughout the second stanza, rebounding to extend their lead thanks to a four pointer from Mitch Brown.
As time ticked down, Melbourne kept their chances of a win alive thanks to some nice combination play between forwards Mitch Garbutt and Kenny Bromwich. Garbutt’s line break allowed Bromwich to find the line and narrow Canterbury’s lead.
Morris’ second try of the evening, late in the half ended Melbourne’s hopes of a comeback, sealing Canterbury’s win.
Melbourne Storm 10
Tries: Mahe Fonua 15’, Kenny Bromwich 72’
Canterbury Bulldogs 20
Tries: Chase Stanley 31’, Josh Morris 44’, Mitch Brown 67’, Josh Morris 78’