Mahe Fonua scored a try for the Storm but the Dogs called the shots as they defeated Melbourne 20-10 on Sunday night. Credit: NRL Photos Copyright: NRL Photos
Outstanding under-20s product Moses Mbye has pressed his claims for selection in the Bulldogs' Round 1 blockbuster against the Broncos with a starring display in his side's 20-10 win over Melbourne in the Pre-Season Charity Cup at Suncorp Stadium.
The initiative of the Brisbane Bombers expansion bid, charity went out the window following the game's final try to Josh Morris with a brief melee breaking out but it was the performance of Mbye that will have incumbent five-eighth Josh Reynolds possibly looking over his shoulder.
Reynolds underwent a shoulder reconstruction in the off-season and was close to playing in the Bulldogs' final trial but coach Des Hasler can rest easy knowing he has a ready-made replacement waiting in the wings.
Mbye had a hand in the Dogs' opening try in the 31st minute to Chase Stanley and then delivered the final pass for Mitch Brown's try in the 67th minute and Josh Morris's second in the dying stages of the match.
The bright touches of Mbye in the latter stages of the second half brought to life a match that had been punctuated by errors and saw the sides go to half-time level at 4-all after Mahe Fonua scored for the Storm when he chased his own grubber kick into the in-goal.
The Storm's second try didn't come until eight minutes left when bearded behemoth Mitch Garbutt busted through the Dogs defence and laid on a deft pass for Kenny Bromwich to score right of the posts.
A week after scoring one of the tries of the Auckland Nines, Garbutt again showed why he is set to become a cult figure in Melbourne with some bullocking runs.
Ben Hampton looked assured at five-eighth for Melbourne but coach Craig Bellamy will be sweating on the availability of star half Cooper Cronk who remains in doubt for Round 1.
Bulldogs winger Krisnan Inu was forced to leave the field with more than 20 minutes to play after suffering a sickening head knock with Storm forward Kenny Bromwich while Ryan Hinchliffe limped from the field three minutes into the second half and played no further part in the match.
Storm half Ben Roberts was placed on report for a lifting tackle on Bulldogs fullback Sam Perrett.
Bulldogs 20 (Morris 2, Stanley, Brown tries; Hodkinson, Stanley goals) def Storm 10 (Fonua, K.Bromwich tries; Smith goal) at Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane. Crowd: 10,083.