Melbourne Storm fell short against the North Queensland Cowboys in front of a sell-out crowd in rugby league heartland at BB Print Stadium in Mackay tonight.
In a low-scoring pre-season clash, Storm’s only try-scorer and starting fullback hopeful Scott Drinkwater suffered a suspected pectoral tear.
The length of time he will spend on the sidelines will be determined after further assessment.
It was almost a scoreless first half until the Cowboys Gavin Cooper crossed with only eight minutes remaining.
Storm responded with a Drinkwater try from a Cameron Munster grubber.
Cameron Smith converted and the scores were level 6-6 at the main break.
Despite a few moments of brilliance - including a clutch try-saving tackle from Suliasi Vunivalu - it was mostly one-way traffic after half time, as the Cowboys forged ahead to a 14-6 win.
Craig Bellamy said after the final pre-season trial the coaching staff were "a lot clearer" about who will be named in the starting side come round one.
"It was a good physical game but it was stop-start with the amount of errors," he said.
"It was humid and the ball was slippery - there were handling errors on both sides.
"We are certainly a lot clearer after tonight about who will be filling positions.
"A couple of guys were really strong but we will need to assess the damage.
"It sounds like (Drinkwater) might have torn a pec and if that's the case he will require surgery and might be out for two or three months at least.
"That's the diagnosis without having the scan.
"Tui (Kamikamica) went off with an injured knee so hopefully that's not too bad, he's been really strong for us in the two trials."
Bellamy said standout players included forwards Jesse Bromwich and Dale Finucane.
"We were pretty happy with our forwards - Jess was really strong, as was Dale," he said.
"Kenny was playing on the edge tonight, he usually plays in the middle but I think he was quite effective.
"That could be a pretty good combination with Munster.
"Suli had a couple of good runs too.
"There are a couple of things we will need to work on and we will work really hard over the next 12 days."
Storm will face the Broncos at AAMI Park on March 14.