The Courier-Mail

SOFT AS BUTTER

Bellamy lashes Storm players after error-riddled loss to Roosters

- NICK SMART AAP

MELBOURNE Storm coach Craig Bellamy last night accused his side of being “physically and mentally weak” after a heavy loss to Sydney Roosters at Allianz Stadium.

Storm went into the start of the State of Origin period sitting atop the NRL ladder.

They are now fourth after last night’s error-riddled, woeful performanc­e against the Roosters in Sydney.

Storm trailed by 10 points at halftime before surrenderi­ng to a 24-2 thrashing that stung Bellamy.

“We were soft as butter in the first 10 to 20 minutes,” Bellamy said. “We didn’t have the ball but we couldn’t get ourself in the game.

“We were physically and mentally weak and got what we deserved. The only real time we really competed was the last 10 minutes of the first half.

“We were lucky to score two (points) and they unlucky to only score 24.”

Fullback Billy Slater did not play after his shoulder pulled up sore from last Wednesday’s Origin opener.

He was sorely missed but his absence was not the reason for Melbourne’s malaise.

They won two out of the three matches he missed earlier this season. Origin fatigue could also not be blamed as Melbourne’s Maroons contingent in skipper Cameron Smith, Cooper Cronk and Will Chambers were Storm’s best on the park.

The Roosters also had five players backing up last night and they were almost faultless.

Five-eighth James Maloney showed why he would not look out of place in a NSW jersey after playing a leading hand in two of the Roosters’ tries and setting up another.

While Mitchell Aubusson and Roger Tuivasa-Sheck were also outstandin­g, it was Maloney’s performanc­e that would have given Blues coach Laurie Daley food for thought.

The Roosters flew out of the blocks and after Mahe Fonua coughed up a Maloney bomb, Shaun Kenny-Dowall found space to score on the right edge in the second minute after some excellent lead-up work from Aubusson.

Fullback Tuivasa-Sheck came up into the attacking line and threw a lovely cut-out ball for Daniel Tupou to score the Roosters’ second try.

When Maloney kicked a penalty conversion at the 15minute mark, the Roosters were completely dominating the contest, enjoying 82 per cent possession.

The Storm went into the sheds only down 12-2.

However when Ryan Hinchcliff­e got disorienta­ted after a tackle and played the ball straight back to the opposition, it seemed to set the tone for Melbourne’s second half.

Another Maloney penalty soon after pushed the Roosters’ lead back out to 12.

The Roosters right side then proceeded to put the contest to bed. First they put the ball through some speedy hands to send Aubusson over.

He turned provider 11 minutes later after producing a lovely flick pass for Kenny-Dowall’s second.

Roosters coach Trent Robinson praised his side for a near-faultless performanc­e.

“I think we’ve been good since the rep round,” he said.

“I’m not too sure where Melbourne were at tonight but I thought we were pretty good.

“We’ve just got to keep building and keep improving.”

 ??  ?? STORM BEATER: Roosters five-eighth James Maloney was a headache for Melbourne Storm. Main picture: Phil Hillyard
STORM BEATER: Roosters five-eighth James Maloney was a headache for Melbourne Storm. Main picture: Phil Hillyard

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