NSW winger Josh Addo-Carr has warmed up for next week's State of Origin series opener in style with two tries to help Melbourne overcome a gritty Bulldogs outfit 28-6 at Belmore Sports Ground on Sunday.
Addo-Carr lit up the suburban venue in the opening half with a 70-metre sprint to the line in an otherwise dire contest that will leave both coaches with mixed feelings about the result.
Neither side really got into a groove in front of a healthy 13,131 crowd with the Storm guilty of four forward passes throughout the contest, while Canterbury struggled to find inroads through the visitors' defence.
Melbourne skipped out to an 18-6 lead midway through the second half after leading 8-0 at the break before two tries in the final eight minutes made the final scoreline flattering to the Storm.
Match: Bulldogs v Storm
Round 11 -
Venue: Belmore Sports Ground, Sydney
Canterbury's last-tackle options left a lot to be desired following last week's win over the Titans, while Kieran Foran was kept noticeably quiet with rookie halfback Jack Cogger doing most of the kicking.
The Storm were given a scare five minutes into the contest with Jahrome Hughes and Dale Finucane banging heads in a tackle that left both players on the ground requiring treatment.
Only a fortnight after leaving the field with heavy concussion against the Eels, Hughes remained on the paddock despite looking worse off than Finucane with a large head cut. Finucane left the field for a HIA and did not return.
In a dire opening half, the Bulldogs failed to engage a healthy Belmore crowd with a high shot from Dylan Napa enabling the visitors to take a 2-0 lead via a penalty goal to Cameron Smith.
Addo-Carr secures his double
Melbourne extended their lead three minutes later after a mistimed kick from Cogger allowed Hughes and Addo-Carr to link with the Blues flyer stepping past Josh Jackson and Nick Meaney to show off his blistering speed with a 70-metre dash to score under the posts.
The Bulldogs failed to apply any pressure in Melbourne's 20-metre area despite enough yardage to create points in return.
Another shallow kick from Cogger after half-time left Addo-Carr in more space to send the Storm into good territory and a set play shortly after resulted in the Blues incumbent strolling over untouched for a double.
A bullocking try from Sauaso Sue, who charged over Brodie Croft and carried three Storm defenders with him to the line, brought the crowd to their feet in the 51st minute.
Storm centre Will Chambers crossed down the left edge in simple fashion to shut down any hope of a Bulldogs comeback in the 72nd minute.
Sue hits the ball at pace
Nelson Asofa-Solomona grabbed his second try of the season in the closing minutes to blow the scoreline out further.
The victory pushes Melbourne ahead of the Roosters into outright second spot on the ladder as they head into a bye in round 12.
The Bulldogs will host the Canberra Raiders at ANZ Stadium on Saturday.