2014: ROUND QF

vs Melbourne

Match Details
Match Date 14th Sep, 2014
Opponent Melbourne
Result Win
Coach Des Hasler
Captain Michael Ennis
Venue Melbourne (AAMI Park)
Crowd 19,230
Referee Matt Cecchin
Gavin Morris

It wasn’t Melbourne Storm’s day and, despite hints otherwise, it was never going to be their season.

A distracted first half robbed the Storm of their season and a promising path to the grand final as they fell to Des Hasler’s Canterbury Bulldogs 28-4 at AAMI Park in the NRL elimination final on Sunday.

The same mental errors and defensive misunderstandings between the forwards and edges that cost them all season handed the Bulldogs four first-half tries.

The Bulldogs took a well deserved 24-0 lead at half-time and held off the Storm despite suffering two injuries in the second half.

The Bulldogs had the first try within six minutes of the kick-off. Skipper Michael Ennis put up a high ball which fell between three watching Storm defenders who didn’t go for it, leaving the Bulldogs to batter it backwards to lock Greg Eastwood who cruised over to score.

On the next kick-off, Storm captain Cameron Smith showed his injured left ankle was up for the contest with his spinning kick bouncing out of bounds and giving the home side possession 10 metres from the Bulldogs’ line.

But the Storm’s best attacking patterns weren’t good enough.

The Bulldogs repeatedly threatened the Storm’s defence and on 13 minutes a gap opened on the right side and Bulldogs halfback Trent Hodkinson noticed and happily jogged through with the conversion making it 12-0.

The Storm began making several offloads to counter the Bulldogs’ intensive tackling but that plan went wrong when Roberts took an offload near halfway and threw a pass right into the path of Bulldogs centre Tim Lafai who bolted for the line, taking the lead to 18-0 after 17 minutes.

A late hit from Bulldogs’ James Graham on Cooper Cronk gave the Storm a chance to score from inside the 20-metre line but despite two sets the Storm couldn’t unlock the rigid Bulldogs’ defence.

Smith pulled out one of his most difficult tricks when he chipped out a 10-metre kick from a goal-line dropout with Cronk reading the play and getting the ball right on the 10-metre line thus keeping possession for the Storm.

But just as they had done all half, a fumble ended the play.

That turnover proved the most costly of the game as the Bulldogs made quick metres before again breaking through the right side with Lafai scoring his second try with three minutes left in the half.

Hodkinson’s conversion made it 24-0 and Moors capped off a horror half with a fumble just seconds before the siren.

Almost 20,000 Storm supporters sprang back to life on 46 minutes when a perfect Cronk kick ran into the path of Waqa who caught the ball and touched it down to make it 24-4 as Will Chambers’ conversion kick hit the post.

The roar of the AAMI Park crowd was in full cry and the home side gave them reason to stay loud when they posted a seeming second try on 49 minutes with Fijian winger Marika Koroibete attacking the middle after some broken play then flinging the ball backwards to Waqa who scored up the posts. But a prolonged video review found an earlier knock-on and cancelled out the try.

The Storm’s woes resumed on the next possession as Slater caught a high ball 30 metres from goal but spilled it when tackled. But Slater did much to try and drag his side back into the match.

Bulldogs winger Corey Thompson looked to have scored on the next possession but a video review found Koroibete had pushed him out of bounds.

With the Storm denied a second try right on the line, the Bulldogs looked to take it out of defence only for interchange Pat O’Hanlon to go down on the 40-metre line and looked to have broken his leg.

Bulldogs five-eighth Josh Reynolds went down after a taking a knee in the back from Slater with the Storm fullback put on report as Reynolds remained in the game.

Josh Morris was also reported.

Source: The Sydney Morning Herald

Player Position Tries Goals F Goals Points
Sam Perrett Fullback 0 0 0 0
Corey Thompson Wing 0 0 0 0
Mitch Brown Wing 0 0 0 0
Tim Lafai Centre 3 0 0 12
Josh Morris Centre 0 0 0 0
Josh Reynolds Five Eighth 0 0 0 0
Trent Hodkinson Half Back 1 4 0 12
Greg Eastwood Lock 1 0 0 4
Josh Jackson Second Row 0 0 0 0
Tony Williams Second Row 0 0 0 0
James Graham Front Row 0 0 0 0
Aiden Tolman Front Row 0 0 0 0
Michael Ennis Hooker 0 0 0 0
Dale Finucane Replacement 0 0 0 0
Frank Pritchard Replacement 0 0 0 0
Pat O'Hanlon Replacement 0 0 0 0
David Klemmer Replacement 0 0 0 0
Total: 5 4 0 28