The Aquis Gold Coast Titans have fallen to their fifth successive loss after suffering a heavy 38-0 defeat at the hands of the Melbourne Storm at Cbus Super Stadium this afternoon.
The clinical Storm outfit were lead superbly by star halfback Cooper Cronk who put on an impressive performance to score two tries and combined well with Cameron Smith and Cameron Munster to control the ruck and the contest to post seven unanswered tries and keep the Titans pointless at home for the first-time in the clubs history.
With only a 73 percent completion rate comare the Melbourne's 93 percent, the Titans struggled to get into the contest and were their own worst enemies throughout the match, producing costly errors coming out of trouble gifting the table-topping Storm side easy scoring opportunities.
After an early first-half arm-wrestle, the Titans error count rose leading to the Storm putting on three tries in a nine minute period to go into the half-time break leading 20-0.
Coach Neil Henry said it was a disappointing performance from his side with the poor completions rate cost his team.
“It was a good old fashioned flogging and we got a good lesson in controlled footy, they were up in the 90 percent completion rate and we were never in that game,” Henry said.
“I think we put a lot of effort in our defence at times but on the flip-side of that when you have the ball you can’t just be dropping it when you get up to play it or losing it in the tackle like we did today, they were all simple errors like that and ball control at the ruck.
“We couldn’t mount any serious pressure against them and you just don’t get back against sides like that. They started shutting the game down with 20 minutes to go, finding touch with kicks and that was it.
“Conceding eight line breaks and 40 odd missed tackles you’re not in a game and we needed to have our ball control up around the 80 percent mark where we have been in the past but we weren’t close to that today, so weren’t in the game.
“We don’t need to dwell on it but we need to react to it, it can’t be something which weighs us down too much because it’s gone and our next task is the Roosters who have got a few troops back and they’re looking for momentum.
“We need to get a win but more importantly we need to play better than that, that’s just not up to any standard that we set for our team.”
Captain William Zillman said there were some good signs early on in the contest but a high error-count against a quality outfit such as Melbourne proved the difference.
“I thought our defence early on was really good but when you’re making too many errors and having to defend too many errors it’s generally going to come back and haunt you and it did today. We had guys who had gotten through a lot of work and we looked tired at times,” Zillman said.
“We haven’t been winning in the last month but we have been around about there and we’ve been playing some really good football but today as Neil said was a good old fashioned flogging.
“It is something we need to make sure we get on top off pretty quickly and look forward to the next game, it’s not something that can weigh us down.
“Once again it’s another week where we let a team get away with a good start and teams like Melbourne don’t let you back into the game.”Despite having all the early momentum, the Titans conceded first points after Cheyse Blair reeled in a David Mead kick, after the Titans ran the ball to the right on the last tackle, went straight into Blair’s hands and he raced 65 metres down-field and score in the corner to give the Storm a 4-0 lead after nine minutes.
Errors by the Titans coming out of their own end gifted the Storm prime attacking position and they took full advantage with Cameron Smith starting a smart backline play resulting in Suliasi Vunivalu crossing in the corner to give the Storm an 8-0 lead with just over ten minutes remaining in the half.
The Storm extended their lead in the 32nd minute through Tohu Harris who showed brute strength to get across the line and plant the ball down despite the attention of Nene Macdonald. With Smith adding the extras from the sideline the Storm took a 14-0 lead.
The Storm continued their first-half dominance in the 36th minute when hulking forward Nelson Asofa-Solomona made a bust up the middle before drawing-and-passing to Cooper Cronk to score untouched under the posts to give Smith an easy conversion to give the Storm a 20-0 lead going into the break.
The Storm’s momentum continued into the second-half and they extended their lead in the 46th minute when Vunivula out-leapt Nathan Davis to reel in the Cronk crossfield kick and plant the ball down just inside the touchline to give his side a 24-0 lead with 32minutes remaining.
The Storm were reduced to 12-men in the 65th minute when Kenny Bromwich was sin-binned for throwing a punch in a melee.
Despite being a man-down the Storm continued to dominate the ruck and posted another try with their outside-inside play resulting in Cameron Munster getting away before passing to a supporting Cronk to grab his second try. With Smith converting from in front the Storm took a 30-0 lead with under 20 minutes remaining.
The Storm extended their lead out to 32-0 with a Smith penalty-goal in the 68th minute following Ryan James being pegged for being inside the 10.
The Titans woes continued in the 73rd minute when Storm pivot Blake Green sliced his way through the defensive line to score next to the posts giving Smith an easy conversion to give the side the 38-0 victory.
Melbourne Storm 38 (S Vunivalu 2, C Cronk 2, C Blair, T Harris, B Green tries; C Smith 5 goals) defeated Gold Coast Titans 0 at Cbus Super Stadium. Crowd: 10,214.