Cameron Munster marked his return to fullback on Friday night with a hat-trick to help the Storm down the Titans 32-14, although the win may have come at a cost with star halfback Jahrome Hughes leaving the game with a shoulder injury.
Munster, who played predominantly as a fullback for the first four seasons of his NRL career, was a late inclusion at the back as cover for the injured Nick Meaney and didn't disappoint, scoring 20 points all up thanks to his three tries and four conversions.
Hughes, who suffered the injury late in the first half and played through to the break before being taken from the game, will have scans on Saturday, while the Storm will also wait to see what comes of Brandon Smith being placed on report for a hip-drop style tackle on 28 minutes.
The Storm did most of the damage in the first half, outscoring the Titans 22-10, before crossing for a further two in the second half to win their second match in a row.
Inside the opening 15 minutes the Storm were twice held and had new loan signing David Nofoaluma drop one over the line, but were soon up 10-0 thanks to tries from returning winger Xavier Coates and Munster.
When Kenny Bromwich added a third on 22 minutes the Titans looked in big trouble, but managed to fight back with much-needed tries from Beau Fermor and Herman Ese'ese.
Bustling Bromwich powers over
Munster's second finished the first-half scoring.
Brian Kelly's try three minutes into the second half set the scene for a Gold Coast comeback, but the last-placed Titans struggled to take advantage of their opportunities from that point on and eventually allowed the Storm to finish over the top.
A third for Munster capped off a fine night at the office which included 252 run metres and nine tackle breaks, with Young Tonumaipea adding one last try for the Storm in the final minute of the match.
Munster gets his hat-trick
- After being a late inclusion at fullback, Cameron Munster starred with three tries and 252 run metres, with his additional four conversions leaving him with 20 points on the night. He now has 11 tries in 10 games against the Titans.
- Jahrome Hughes suffered a shoulder injury late in the first half of his 100th game for the Storm and didn't return. He will have scans on Saturday to determine the damage.
- The Storm led 22-10 at half-time.
- Winger Xavier Coates had a strong return to action following an injury which kept him out since round 12, scoring a try and running for 109 metres.
- Titans hooker Aaron Booth left the field with a knee injury on 14 minutes and didn't return.
- In his first game back from a three-game suspension Brandon Smith was placed on report for a hip-drop style tackle in the first half
- The Storm have won their past eight games against the Titans.
Play of the game
After the Titans had clawed their way back to trail by just six points, Munster's second try halted their momentum and got the Storm back on track. The Storm star sold the sliding defence a dummy before burning through.
Munster cooking from fullback
What they said
"We fought hard in that second half and were slowly looking OK and then a couple of errors and sort of fumbled our way to the finish line. A lot to like, but just not good enough." - Titans coach Justin Holbrook.
Titans: Round 21
"I thought we started the game really well and when we got to 14-0 I was probably hoping that the game was perhaps going to get too hard for the Titans. But to their credit they just kept fighting." - Storm coach Craig Bellamy.
Storm: Round 21
The Titans have a long break now before hosting the Sea Eagles next Sunday, while the Storm are back in action on Thursday night against the ladder-leading Panthers. Melbourne are set to welcome back injured fullback Nick Meaney, while centre Justin Olam could make his return from COVID too.