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Storm survive Titans scare but lose Paps to injury

The loss of star fullback Ryan Papenhuyzen to an ankle injury took the gloss of Melbourne's 22-20 victory over the Titans at Cbus Super Stadium.

Papenhuyzen left the field late in the first half with his team ahead 20-12 and from there they hung on to deny a brave Titans outfit who came within an ace of a second upset in as many weeks.

The Storm were first to cross the line in the eighth minute but had the try ruled out due to an obstruction before the Titans missed their chance to open the scoring with Brian Kelly missing an easy penalty shot.

Midway through the half the home side hit the lead when veteran playmaker Kieran Foran went through the heart of the Storm defence from close range and Kelly converted for a 6-0 lead.

Storm milestone man Camerom Munster came up with a try in his 200th game after skilful lead-up work by Shawn Blore and Ryan Papenhuyzen in the 21st minute before Will Warbrick crossed for his fourth try of the season four minutes later.

Kieran Foran Try

Papenhuyzen made it three tries in six minutes when the Storm launched a raid from halfway and Blore delivered a quality offload to Reimis Smith who gave his fullback a clear run to the line.

With six minutes left in the half the Storm raced to a 20-6 lead when Sua Fa'alogo produced some dazzling speed and footwork to score in his first game of the season

Winger Phil Sami got one back for the Titans in the shadows of half-time when he slammed the ball in the right hand corner and the bunker ruled he had retained control of the ball.

Cameron Munster Try

A huge blow for the Storm just before the break when Papenhuyzen got his leg caught in an awkward position as he tried to make a tackle and was forced off.

The Titans came out all guns blazing in the second half with Sami and Sam Verrills making big metres before David Fifita came up with a trademark run but a grubber for the corner by AJ Brimson rolled into touch and the Storm survived.

Come the 48th minute and Brimson had his moment when he came back against the grain and busted through two tacklers to get the Titans back to 20-18.

When Josh King was pinged for an escort in the 54th minute the home side squared things up at 20-20 through a penalty goal to Kelly.

The Titans continued to surge and Brimson sliced through in the 58th minute but the try was ruled out due to obstruction by Beau Fermor on Munster.

A penalty against Fifita for ruck interference with 15 minutes to play gave Nick Meaney an easy shot to put the Storm in front but he hit the upright and the see-sawing contest stayed level.

Fifita breaking tackles

Three minutes later Meaney had another shot after a high tackle by Kelly and he landed the shot for Melbourne to edge ahead 22-20.

A lost ball by Warbrick coming out of his own end with five minutes to play put Melbourne under immense pressure but a desperate last-ditch tackle by Joe Chan to deny Sami ensured the visitors clung to their lead.

A contentious stripping call against the Titans gave the Storm the chance to wind the clock down and they hung on for their seventh win of the season.

Match Snapshot

  • The Titans lost five-eighth Tanah Boyd to an arm injury during the first half.
  • Titans hooker Chris Randall was placed on report for a high tackle on Reimis Smith in the 32nd minute.
  • Storm winger Sua Fa'alogo was sent for a HIA during the half-time break which he passed.
  • Storm prop Christian Welch played his 150th NRL game.
  • Storm prop Josh King ran for 124 metres and made 29 tackles in a whole-hearted display.

Will Warbrick Try

  • The Titans led the tackle break count 14-9 in the first half and finished the night with 38 tackle breaks to 19.
  • Titans fullback AJ Brimson made 164 metres from 17 and broke seven tackles while winger Phil Sami ran for 194 metres.
  • David Fifita came up with 11 tackle breaks and ran for 108 metres for the Titans.
  • The Storm have won 10 of their past 11 games against the Titans.

Concern for Papenhuyzen

Play of the GameĀ 

Back in the Storm side for his first game of 2024 and just the second of his career, 21-year-old Sua Fa'alogo came up with a solo special in the 33rd minute when he goose stepped Harley Smith-Shields out of his boots and stepped around Phil Sami before a high dive into the in goal for a cracking four-pointer.

Sualauvi Faalogo Try

What they SaidĀ 

"I thought at stages we weren't too smart with our footy tonight but you've got to give the boys some credit... leading like we did and then giving up that lead, and then hanging in there with the Titans finishing over the top a little bit, I thought that was a good sign. And covering for the injuries we had, I'm proud of the effort, and the way they hung in there, but we need to be a bit smarter in certain circumstances." - Storm coach Craig Bellamy

Storm: Round 9

"We gave away some soft tries in the first half but we showed plenty of character to come back in the second half and dominate pretty well. You get some contentious calls your way and you lose some, unfortunately the ones that you lose are always the hardest. We could talk for half a day about that strip at the end but it doesn't help the result in any way. We had our opportunities and it's probably a game we should have won tonight." - Titans coach Des Hasler

Titans: Round 9

What's Next

The Titans are at home again in Round 10 when they welcome the Cowboys to Cbus Super Stadium on Sunday. When the sides met in Townsville in Round 5 it was the Cowboys getting home 35-22.

The Storm will host the Sharks at AAMI Park on Saturday night with a huge crowd guaranteed for a Round 10 showdown between two arch-rivals.

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.