Bulldogs denied by Storm despite Addo-Carr hat-trick

Melissa Woods |

Melbourne have won their fourth close game of the season, beating the Bulldogs by two points.
Melbourne have won their fourth close game of the season, beating the Bulldogs by two points.

A Josh Addo-Carr hat-trick wasn’t enough for Canterbury to secure an upset NRL victory over Melbourne, with the Storm holding on 16-14 in a high-voltage clash.

The Bulldogs speedster, in his first match back after a round-four concussion, bagged three tries in the second half to overturn a 10-0 deficit at AAMI Park on Friday night.

But Melbourne second-rower Shawn Blore crossed with six minutes remaining to regain the lead and the hosts managed to hold on for the win.

Canterbury coach Cameron Ciraldo said his players were “devastated” to suffer a third-straight loss by four points or less.

“I thought we were really good, did a lot of things really well, probably missed a few moments that hurt us on the scoreboard,” he said.

“Everyone can see how the boys are playing, how committed they are and they did a lot of good things and they’re pretty devastated in there because there was so much effort and we put ourselves in a position to win.

“But it is what it is and we’ve got to deal with that.”

The Storm delivered the opening blow in the second minute when fullback Ryan Papenhuyzen stole a ball from Josh Curran and scrambled through the defence to score.

They pushed the lead out to 10 points when Xavier Coates took a towering bomb and as he was being bundled into touch, managed to grubber the ball back in-field and it was scooped up by Reimis Smith.

As the teams headed into halftime, Papenhuyzen was put on report for a hip drop tackle on former Storm winger Addo-Carr that was picked up by the bunker.

The visitors showed plenty of promise in the opening 40 but failed to finish, with eight errors and only completing at 65 per cent, with Addo-Carr missing an early four-pointer by going into touch.

He made no mistake on his next chance when running on to a Bronson Xerri pass and racing 60 metres to touch down.

Addo-Carr was in again nine minutes later when the Bulldogs sent the ball to their dangerous left side with Xerri tapping the ball on for his winger.

Josh Addo-Carr.
Josh Addo-Carr breaks through the Storm defensive line on a night he scored three tries. (Joel Carrett/AAP PHOTOS)

Both teams went down to 12 men – Canterbury losing Sam Hughes, who was put on report for a forearm to the head of Christian Welch.

Papenhuyzen joined him in the sin bin for a professional foul, ruled to have pushed Stephen Crichton off the ball as they raced to the in-goal.

In the next set the visitors went up 14-10 with a long ball out wide from Matt Burton ending with Addo-Carr diving across in the corner, continuing a nightmare outing for his opposite Will Warbrick.

It appeared the Dogs would leave with a well-deserved victory but the home side had the final say when Blore barged across for the match-winner.

“I knew they (Canterbury) were a good side, the way they play their footy really suits the the players they’ve got and I think they do that really well,” Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy said.

“They just wouldn’t sort of go away, kept turning up and we were a bit the same.

“It would have been easy for us to sort of give it up when they came back and went ahead of us but we kept hanging in there so it was a tight old tussle.”

The Storm are set to be without prop Tui Kamikamica, who limped off after three minutes with a calf injury with Bellamy flagging a return for Nelson Asofa-Solomona in their Thursday night clash with the Sydney Roosters.