Melbourne Storm coach Craig Bellamy could hardly look on at times after the Storm fell to a second straight loss as the club struggles with a massive injury toll.
The Storm’s normally resolute defence was nowhere to be seen in a 38-34 loss to the Gold Coast Titans, following on from a loss to the Bulldogs at home last week.
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Bellamy has coached the Storm since the 2003 season but there is hardly a time where so many of his stars have been out, as well as losing the likes of Felise Kaufusi and the Bromwich brothers to the Dolphins and Brandon Smith to the Roosters.
The Storm went into the match without the likes of Nelson Asofa-Solomona, Ryan Papenhuyzen and Cameron Munster while several players were only just back after injury lay-offs like Tariq Sims, Tui Kamikamica and Justin Olam.
While Munster is set to return in round 5 from his compound fractured finger, Asofa-Solomona is expected to be out for up to 10 weeks.
The Storm have been the frontrunners for most of Bellamy’s tenure at the club but since announcing this would most likely be his last season, the side has struggled to hit the heights of the past with its new look side.
Debutant five-eighth Jonah Pezet instantly impressed, scoring a try 12 minutes into his first NRL start.
But it was a high-scoring and dramatic clash as 72-points were scored between the sides.
The Storm held the lead at 24-18 at halftime before the Titans scored twice immediately after the break to open up the scoreline.
It’s something that will no doubt infuriate Bellamy, who railed against his side’s defensive fragility last week.
His reaction in the coach’s box also said a lot.
Bellamy said the Titans were “as bad as us at times” but offered a scathing reason why his side was beaten.
“The care factor just seems very very low,” Bellamy said.
Asked about how to turn it around, Bellamy told the reporter: “You might be able to tell me because I’m not quite sure how to fix it.”
Bellamy did concede the Storm did show more resilience in defence but highlighted the three tries scored in seven minutes either side of halftime.
Storm skipper Christian Welch was horrified by the result.
“We try and pride ourselves on defence,” he told ABC Sport. “38 points, that’s really embarrassing.
“Bloody hell, we’ve got to play a lot better than that.”
In the press conference, Welch said: “We trying, but we’re just making life difficult for ourselves.
“We’re one of the best teams, the last couple of weeks, doing stupid s**t.”
Bellamy questioned the NRL’s wisdom of playing a match on the Gold Coast in mid-March in the hottest part of the day when it had a top of 28 degrees, but felt like 34 degrees.
He added the troops returning had not had much time to train and get into the season, but that the team didn’t have the commitment the Storm are known for.
Corey Parker slammed the Storm after a shoulder charge from Trent Loiero with 90 seconds remaining all but put the game to bed.
“This has been an afternoon for Craig Bellamy’s troops the Melbourne Storm, ill-disciplined, drop ball, dumb play there from Loiero,” Parker said.
Story Credit: news.com.au