Storm issues mount as Gold Coast produce NRL comeback

Murray Wenzel |

Craig Bellamy has questioned his side’s care factor after an error-riddled Melbourne dropped a second straight NRL game, this time in oppressive heat on the Gold Coast.

The Titans snapped an eight-game losing streak against the Storm, scoring three tries either side of halftime in a comeback 38-34 win on Saturday.

Trailing 24-12 just before halftime, a Storm error opened the door and a late Brian Kelly try breathed life into the Titans’ cause at Cbus Super Stadium.

Two more unforced Storm knock-ons to begin the second half allowed Joe Vuna and Aaron Schoupp to run away for tries, while Tariq Sims coughed up a ball on his 20m line and Schoupp no sooner had his second.

That put the Titans up by 10, but a late Xavier Coates try proved another twist with less than four minutes to play.

But two-try winger Alofiana Khan-Pereira tackled Will Warbrick into touch and a Trent Loiero shoulder charge was the final nail in the Storm’s coffin.

Twelve tries were scored, Melbourne completing just 24 of 37 sets and making 16 errors to go with eight penalties.

“I’ve never seen some of the things I’ve seen,” Bellamy said.

“Our problem at the moment is that the care factor seems very, very low

“You’d think it would have been better (after last weekend’s loss).

“I’m not quite sure how to fix it.”

Captain Christian Welch was succinct. 

“We’re one of the best teams in the last couple of weeks of doing stupid s***,” the forward said.

Victory was crucial for a Gold Coast side that faded badly against St George-Illawarra last week, while the Cameron Munster-less Storm’s problems mount after a loss to Canterbury.

Things were looking up earlier when debutant five-eighth Jonah Pezet dummied and skipped around Aaron Schoupp for the Storm’s first try, his delight obvious in front of family after a 2021 move from Newcastle.

His competent first-half performance was part of a wild 40 minutes played in oppressive heat, with Titans halfback Kieran Foran hooked, captain Tino Fa’asuamaleaui reported for a shoulder charge and Jahrome Hughes also reported for his late bump on Tanah Boyd.

Khan-Pereira had two early tries, his second a solo effort that left rival winger Warbrick blushing and clutching at air.

But poor ball security undid their good work, regular mistakes piggy-backing the obliging Storm.

Tariq Sims also scored under the posts with just his second touch on club debut, while fullback Nick Meaney also scored twice.

Foran was eventually recalled with 20 minutes to play – Jayden Campbell shifted from the halves to left centre – and Gold Coast’s defence came good when it counted to seal the win.

“Just the effort … Tino to play 65 minutes in those conditions is unbelievable,” coach Justin Holbrook said.

“There was so much to like about our side today and we needed it.”