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Melbourne fullback Ryan Papenhuyzen proved the difference to help the Storm overcome a night of controversy and beat a gallant Raiders outfit 20-14 in frosty conditions at GIO Stadium.

An 85-metre runaway try to Papenhuyzen midway through the second half opened up an otherwise gruelling contest between the two sides, who went toe-to-toe in the middle of the paddock.

In a week where coach Ricky Stuart introduced his latest debutant Kai O'Donnell to cover their injury woes in the engine room, Canberra's season officially went into chaos when inspirational leader Josh Hodgson left the field in the first half with a suspected torn ACL.

Hodgson's impact was felt early when he combined with Josh Papalii to help level the scores at 6-6 after Storm centre Brenko Lee took advantage of a clumsy clean-up attempt in-goal from Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad in the ninth minute.

The devastating blow for Hodgson, however, ended up compounding a difficult night for the 2019 grand finalists, who failed to convert multiple chances in the first half to surrender a 12-6 lead.

A dubious sin-binning of Bailey Simonsson that led to a Josh Addo-Carr try minutes later contributed to the visitors' six-point advantage at the break, before a Storm penalty goal from in-front for a collision between Dunamis Lui and Christian Welch pushed their lead out to eight.

Papenhuyzen cleans up a kick then runs 90 metres to score

Canberra' luckless night was summed up in the 55th minute when Elliott Whitehead was ruled to have knocked the ball on whilst sliding over the line – his frustrations boiling over when the red lights were sprayed across the big screen.

NRL referee Grant Atkins, who was front and centre in last week's controversy at Lottoland, penalised Whitehead for dissent following the NRL Bunker's decision of a no-try ruling.

Papenhuyzen's effort to scoop up a kick and raced 85 metres to score enabled the Storm to take a 14-point lead with the clock winding down.

Two left edge raids through Nick Cotric and Nicoll-Klokstad narrowed the lead to six points with 21 seconds remaining to set up an unlikely grandstand finish.

However, the class of Storm skipper Cameron Smith and spark of Papenhuyzen late saw the visitors home.

Storm coach Craig Bellamy would've been pulling his hair out in the opening 40 minutes with the side coming up with a remarkable four errors on the first tackle for four consecutive sets in possession.

The Raiders' injury toll grew further before fulltime with Simonsson leaving the field with a shoulder injury, while Jesse Bromwich was also a casualty for the Storm with a knee issue.

Hodgson leaves field with knee injury

Acknowledgement of Country

Melbourne Storm respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.