Photo by Colin Whelan copyright © nrlphotos.com :   Will Chambers held by Tim Lafai     NRL Rugby League, Telstra Cup Round 4 Sydney Bulldogs v Melbourne Storm at Perth, Saturday March 29th  2014.

Storm fall to first defeat

Melbourne Storm has fallen to their first defeat of the 2014 season, losing 12-40 to the Canterbury Bulldogs at Nib Stadium in Perth.

In front of 12,014 people, the Bulldogs weathered an early Melbourne surge to run out 28 point victors in wet conditions over in Western Australia.

Melbourne lost skipper Cameron Smith to back tightness which flared up in the team’s warm up, meaning Tim Glasby moved onto the interchange bench with Tohu Harris taking moving into the starting line-up.

An enterprising start from Melbourne in tough conditions put Craig Bellamy’s side on the front foot early.

Billy Slater capitalised on Storm’s good start, scoring the first points of the evening as Melbourne pieced together a slick attacking move, belying the wet conditions.

Out of dummy half, Ryan Hinchcliffe found Cooper Cronk who in turn played in Proctor with the forward producing a classy offload to find his fullback, Slater.

Storm continued to press during the early stages of the match, capitalising on Canterbury’s errors. Will Chambers crossed for Melbourne’s second try of the evening, finding a hole in the Bulldogs defence after being played through by Cronk.

After struggling to make inroads into Melbourne’s half, Canterbury finally broke through in the 25th minute of play through halfback Trent Hodkinson. Arresting the momentum in the contest, Canterbury then found the lead five muntes later, earning repeat attacking sets.

Winger Brett Morris put his side ahead, finding space on the left flank, allowing Canterbury to take a 12-10 half-time lead.

Upon the resumption of play in the second half, Storm quickly locked up the scores at 12-12 thanks to a penalty goal from forward Tohu Harris.

Canterbury responded strongly, wasting no time to retake the lead when David Klemmer crossed in the 47th minute.

Posing a continual attacking threat to the Storm defensive line, a Canterbury breakaway finished off by Josh Jackson made the task difficult for Melbourne as the Bulldogs pushed 12 points ahead.

Further tries to James Graham, Chase Stanley and Tim Lafai helped the Bulldogs record their second victory of the season.

Melbourne Storm 12

Tries: Billy Slater 8’, Will Chambers 14’

Goals: Harris 1

Canterbury Bulldogs 40

Tries: Trent Hodkinson 25’, Josh Morris 30’, David Klemmer 47’, Josh Jackson 53’, James Graham 61’, Chase Stanley 66’, Tim Lafai 76’

Goals: Hodkinson 6