NRL: Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy questions Storm's hunger to defend title

  • 13/08/2018

Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy has questioned his team's hunger to defend their NRL title in a stinging assessment of their 17-14 loss to Cronulla.   

The Sharks stopped the Storm's return to the top of the table and helped their own top-four hopes in an enthralling match at AAMI Park on Sunday afternoon.   

Moving to sixth, Cronulla proved their defence was title-worthy, holding the Storm up over the try-line three times and preventing a matchwinner with the dying minutes uncannily similar to their 2016 Grand Final decider.   

Bellamy was scathing of his team's poor ball control and game management in the first half, hinting that heads could roll before their Friday night clash with Parramatta.   

"It looks like we lack hunger at the moment," Bellamy said.   

"We looked like we started the game waiting for things to happen, rather than making them happen, and I'm not entirely sure why that would be.    

"We will need to change that, if we're going to go anywhere in this competition."   

The Storm trailed 13-4 at halftime, with hooker Jayden Brailey and Valentine Holmes both scoring, as the Sharks searched for just their second win in Melbourne since 2009.   

The home side pegged it back to 13-10 through Billy Slater, running onto a Cameron Munster grubber, but Cameron Munster then a threw a loose pass that led to the Sharks' final try.   

It was scooped up by centre Jesse Ramien and despite being brought down by Josh Addo-Carr after a 60m dash, Cronulla winger Josh Dugan took the ball from dummy- half and burst through some soft defence.   

Will Chambers set up winger Suliasi Vunivalu for his second try in the 72nd minute to pave the way for an exciting finale, but the visitors held firm.   

"I'm concerned, and I'm disappointed," Bellamy said. "It's what we do from now on is what matters.   

"We need to decide where we are going from here and put some actions to it."   

Further souring the loss, veteran second-rower Ryan Hoffman looks to have played his last NRL game, after suffering a serious hamstring injury later in the game.   

Meanwhile, Sharks coach Shane Flanagan was all smiles after arresting a two-game losing streak.

"There were parts of it that were really courageous and really skilful, and there was probably a block in the second half where we defended our try-line that ended up winning the game for us," Flanagan said.   

"I think we just won more crucial moments than the Storm did."   

AAP