‘Absolutely s---’: Munster blows up
THE Melbourne Storm were unbackable favourites to win the match against the last-placed Gold Coast Titans, but the ladder leaders were far from what the league was used to seeing, especially in the first half.
Shockingly, the Storm were down 8-6 at half-time after a very un-Melbourne performance.
They corrected it in the second half, coming away with a 24-8 win and sitting just one victory short of the minor premiership, while officially leaving the Gold Coast with the wooden spoon.
Cameron Munster was the worst culprit, called out twice for dissent and even cautioned that he would leave his team a player down if he kept it up.
The slick five-eighth was clearly frustrated and at half-time he let rip on a refreshingly honest assessment of his own game.
"I don't want to swear on national TV but that was absolutely s--- from myself," Munster told Fox Sports' Hannah Hollis.
"I hold myself to a high standard and I need to be better for the team. Can't dish that up in the first half.
"I guess we aren't holding the ball and giving them piggy backs and I guess I'm getting a bit frustrated and I need to work on that."
It was the sign of a team who were rattled.
Even Storm skipper Cameron Smith made three errors in the first half.
Melbourne gave away eight penalties before the break and the side completed at just 11 of 19.
They lifted in the second half but it was one of the most un-Storm like performances of the season.
At the break, Fox Sports commentator Braith Anasta said it appeared the past few weeks had weighed on the Storm after a loss to the Raiders, Melbourne being slammed for their wrestling tactics and Smith being in the spotlight for the wingnut tackle.
"This does suggest to me there has been some sort of an impact from the backlash over the last few weeks," Anasta said at half-time.
"They don't look the same, they've been frustrated with the penalties.
"I'm not saying it's directly to do with that. But maybe there's a suggestion there that there is. (Coach Craig) Bellamy looks pretty calm. I thought he'd be losing it, to be honest."
Greg Alexander agreed and said Smith looked to be struggling - something almost never said about the champion hooker.
"We did see him have a long conversation with Cameron Smith when he first got into the sheds," Alexander said. "I'm sure they were discussing what was happening with the referees out there.
"Cameron Smith's had a confused look on his face a couple of times.
"He's been pulled back for forward passes. I'm sure in their minds decisions and 50/50 calls haven't gone their way. So, I guess there is a frustration in what's happening out there and, at the moment, it has effected them because they're off their game."
After falling to Canberra last round, Storm coach Bellamy blasted their poor completion rate, but didn't get the response he was after.
Whatever the coach had to say at half-time, it worked.
Melbourne second-rower Kenny Bromwich offloaded to fullback Ryan Papenhuyzen for a try three minutes into the second term.
The lead blew out to 10 points when Kenny's brother Jesse put Dale Finucane across, with the Storm back in control.
The Titans' first-half try was a special, with winger Jesse Arthars leaping high above Josh Addo-Carr to snatch a Nathan Peats bomb.
Arthars didn't return for the second half after failing a HIA test. It came after he was up-ended as Addo-Carr tunnelled under him while Arthars was going up for a high ball.
- with AAP