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Storm all smiles as Coates bags three and Paps returns in win

The Storm welcomed superstar Ryan Papenhuyzen back to the fold as a Xavier Coates hat-trick led them to a 37-16 victory over the Titans at AAMI Park on Saturday.

After 405 days out of the NRL, Papenhuyzen played the final 18 minutes and had some nice touches as the Storm took a huge step towards locking up a top-four finish.

The Storm got off to a flying start when Will Warbrick crossed in the fifth minute courtesy of a pinpoint Jahrome Hughes grubber kick.

Nine minutes later the Titans hit back when Chris Randall burrowed over from dummy half before Coates returned serve as the teams traded tries.

Titans centre Brian Kelly finished off a slick left side raid in the 26th minute and the scores were locked at 10-10.

A penalty against Tino Fa'asuamaleaui in the 34th minute handed Nick Meaney the chance to edge the home side in front and the fullback landed the shot.

Welcome back Paps!

Cameron Munster then stamped his class on the game with a line break and a perfectly timed pass for Coates to make it a double and the Storm took an 18-10 lead to the break.

The Titans struck first in the second half when a Fa'asuamaleaui offload set the attack in motion on the right edge and Brimson delivered the final pass for Jojo Fifita to score wide out. Thomas Weaver piloted the conversion from the touchline to close the gap to 18-16.

Chris Randall Try

A huge moment for the AAMI Park crowd when Papenhuyzen took the field in the 62nd minute in his first NRL match for more than year and they had more to celebrate 60 seconds later when Christian Welch powered over from close range to make it 24-16.

With 10 minutes to play the Storm put the game to bed when Grant put in a deft grubber kick for Eliesa Katoa to follow through and score the home side's fifth try.

Another kick and another try in the 75th minute when Coates flew high to pull down a Munster kick as the Storm blew the margin out to 20 points.

Munster then added a field goal with two minutes to play to make the final score 37-16.

The Storm's chief playmaker Hughes left the field soon after with a suspected medial ligament injury in the only dampener on the day for Melbourne.

Match Snapshot

  • Ryan Papenhuyzen came off the bench in the 62nd minute for his first NRL appearance in 405 days.
  • Harry Grant started the game on the bench and was introduced by Craig Bellamy in the 27th minute.
  • Storm winger Xavier Coates bagged three tries and ran for 203 metres.
  • Storm back-rower Eliesa Katoa has scored five tries in his past five games.

Will Warbrick Try

  • Titans captain Tino Fa'asuamaleaui had 20 runs and made 209 metres in an inspirational display for the visitors.
  • Titans five-eighth Kieran Foran was sent for a HIA with 11 minutes to play.
  • The Storm have won nine of their past 10 games against the Titans.
  • The Titans have conceded 134 points in their past four games.
  • Nelson Asofa-Solomona had 10 tackle breaks for the Storm.

Brian Kelly Try

Play of the Game

Xavier Coates' second try was a thing of beauty as Harry Grant got out of dummy half and put Cameron Munster into space down the left edge. The five-eighth sold a couple of dummies to bamboozle the Titans defence before sending Coates on a 25-metre cruise to the tryline.

Xavier Coates Try

What They Said

"At times it looked like we were looking for the short-cuts but I was really happy with the way we steadied the ship in the second half and we scored some points in the end. The reception for Paps [Ryan Papenhuyzen], I didn't really expect that, but it was great for him and I thought he did a really good job. He didn't overplay his hand and he didn't underplay it. We weren't quite sure what the role was going to be but it looks like he has come through OK. We just have to work out what his best role is for us and we'll go from there. That's the only 20 minutes of NRL he has played in 13 months, so just because he got through today we are not expecting miracles from him." - Storm coach Craig Bellamy

Storm: Round 26

"I felt like we deserved a penalty when Kieran [Foran] got hit in the head and we didn't get it and we lose our best ball-player for the rest of the game inside the last 15 minutes and they get two tries from kicks to finish us off. Tommy [Weaver] has had an easy introduction to the NRL with the Panthers and the Storm in his two games [laughs] so I'm sure it's a good learning for him and Keano [Kini] is getting some extra time out there so we are certainly getting some guys some experience going into next year so that's good." - Titans interim coach Jim Lenihan

Titans: Round 26

What's Next

The Storm look set to be without Jahrome Hughes when they open Round 27 against the Broncos at Suncorp Stadium while the Titans close their season with a home clash against the Bulldogs at Cbus Super Stadium.

Acknowledgement of Country

Gold Coast Titans proudly acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the land on which we are situated, the Kombumerri families of the Yugambeh Language Region. We pay our respects to their Elders past, present and emerging, and recognise their continuing connections to the lands, waters and their extended communities throughout South East Queensland.