The iSelect Titans under-20s are still yet to win on home soil after going down to Melbourne Storm 34-10 at Cbus Super Stadium tonight.
The Titans won the clash between the two sides in Melbourne in round 5 after coming from behind 16-0. The score line was the same at a similar part of the game but, against a bigger and more dangerous Storm outfit, there was no joy.
Our boys missed too many tackles, too often failed to stop the offload and squandered too much possession when they had the ball.
The Titans looked like they would have the worst possible start when, in the second minute, a pass was intercepted 20 metres from the Storm line and their winger Latrell Robinson set sail for the try-line. However Zac Spring spectacularly brought him down right on the try line and jolted the ball loose.
But the reprieve was short-lived. Robinson scored from close range on the left flank after 10 minutes for 4-0. Two more tries followed in the space of another six minutes, to prop Nelson Asofa-Solomona and right winger Sulisai Vunavali, both converted by Maxwell Fesolai, for the Storm to lead 16-0.
The home side were struggling to contain the bigger Storm side and gave them too much possession through errors and penalties, which allowed them to get the Titans defence on the back foot too often.
After a brilliant 40m quick-hands movement to the left, Harrison Hughes scored on the next (and last) play to give the Titans their first bit of momentum for the half to bring the score back to 16-4. They had another golden chance to score in the last five minutes before the break but fumbled the ball close to the Storm line after getting a repeat set from a penalty.
It took only 11 minutes of the second half for the Storm to extend their lead when Storm lock Kurt Bernard burst through the middle to score adjacent to the posts, to make it 22-4. Eight minutes late it was 28-4 when prop Asofa-Solomona burrowed over from close range.
With 16 minutes remaining Kane Elgey gave the Titans their second try dummied and broke through from 10 metres, with Connor Broadhurst’s conversion making it 28-10.
Again the Titans were unable to build enough pressure to make a game of it and the score remained unchanged until the final minute when Asofa-Solomona picked up a hat-trick by charging through the defence too easily again. Fesolai converted.
Storm 34 (Asofa-Solomona 3, Robinson, Vunavali, Bernard tries; Fesolai 5 goals) beat Titans 10 (Hughes, Elgey tries, Broadhurst goal).