AAP Rugby

Storm extend streak, pile on Titans misery

By AAP Newswire

Melbourne have overcome a lethargic start to notch a ninth-straight NRL win, consigning Gold Coast to more misery on Sunday.

The last-placed Titans, fresh off coach Garth Brennan's sacking last Sunday, raced ahead 12-0 in just seven minutes before the ladder-leading Storm ran them down in a 38-18 Cbus Super Stadium victory.

It maintained their three-game buffer at the top of the table, Cameron Smith icing the contest with his first try since round 12 last year.

It was the last-placed Titans' fourth straight loss and fifth consecutive home defeat with Storm coach Craig Bellamy admitting that his side was guilty of some early complacency.

"It just looked like we were trying to do it the easy way, not grit our teeth and get down and dirty," he said.

"Our attack was pretty good once we settled down and realised you can't do the big things before you do the little things right."

Ten tries were scored in all, with Gold Coast's edge defence looking particularly flimsy against a Storm backline that was slick enough despite missing its smattering of State of Origin talent.

With assistant Craig Hodges thrust into the hot seat, the Titans would have thought their luck had turned when 401-gamer Smith's first touch of the ball gifted them opening points after just two minutes.

The Storm hooker's pass found the grass, with Brenko Lee swooping to run 45m untouched to score.

Nathan Peats was denied what appeared a try on review three minutes later, only for Jarrod Wallace to barge through the middle and the Titans led 12-0.

The Storm scored twice from their first four sets though and soon hit the lead when Sandor Earl notched his first NRL try in nearly six years.

It was business as usual in the second half as Ryan Papenhuyzen finished another clean break and Smith exploited more vulnerable left edge defence soon after.

Brodie Croft pulled the strings for the Storm, while Bellamy lauded Earl as the ultimate team man after a four-year drug suspension and serious knee injury made it a long wait between four-pointers.

The Titans missed 27 tackles and leaked nine line breaks, with interim coach Hodges insisting he is comfortable make personnel changes to putty the gaps.

"There was patches there ... of what we've spoken about the last five or six days," he said.

"But absolutely she's all positions vacant at the moment; we know what direction we want to go, just need to find the 17 most committed to do that."

Suliasi Vunivalu scored a double but was placed on report after tackling Phillip Sami in the air, while Gold Coast fullback AJ Brimson left the field with a bad cork midway through the second half.