NRL: Storm big man Nelson Asofa Solomona has monstered Mitchell Moses with a huge palm to the head.
MELBOURNE Storm coach Craig Bellamy has praised skipper Cameron Smith and Cooper Cronk for rescuing his under-siege side at AAMI Park..
The Tigers put on four second half tries to Melbourne’s none, coming back from 26-0 down to go down 29-20 on Sunday.
The lead was only a converted try with just over 10 minutes remaining when Storm rallied to shut down the fightback.
“I thought we steadied the ship at the end (the last 10 minutes),” Bellamy said.
NRL: Tohu Harris has been gifted a try after the referee missed a big forward pass from Cooper Cronk in the lead up.
“At half-time in the back of your mind, you’re thinking of trying to give Cameron and Cooper a rest.
“But when it got to that, you’ll always a lot more comfortable with those two guys there.
“With all due respect, they probably proved the difference I thought.”
Smith said the handling errors and a series of dubious penalties in the second half proved costly.
“I don’t think there was any panic out there at any stage,” Smith said.
“When they scored to make it 26-20, we knew where we had to go from there and what we had to do to get ourselves over the line.
“There were a few uncharacteristic mistakes from a few of our players and some things we hadn’t seen in our game for quite some time.”
Bellamy said he was not comfortable at half-time, fully aware the Tigers are the kind of side that can get on a roll and score quickly.
“I was really happy with the first half and thought our defence in the first half was as good as it has been all year to be quite honest,” he said.
“I thought we started losing a little bit of grip with the footy in the last 10 minutes of the first half and that continued in the second half.
“Give the Tigers credit, because if they get some momentum and some footy they’ll cause you some problems.”
Storm big man Nelson Asofa-Solomona (knee) will be assessed n Monday, while it is hoped fullback Cam Munster and Blake Green will return on Friday night.
MELBOURNE 29 (F Kaufusi 2 T Harris M Koroibete tries C Smith 6 goals C Cronk field goal) bt WESTS TIGERS 20 (L Brooks D Nofoaluma T Simona J Tedesco tries M Moses 2 goals) at AAMI Park. Referee: Jared Maxwell, Adam Gee. Crowd: 14,412.