Despite his side’s narrow 6-4 loss to the Bulldogs at AAMI Park on Saturday night, Melbourne Storm coach Craig Bellamy was pleased with the side’s best defensive effort of the season.
This season marks the first time in four years the Storm have lost eight games in the home-and-away season, with even a returning Cooper Cronk not enough to break a stonewall Bulldogs defence.
Much of the ball was at the Storm’s attacking end in the first half but 40 minutes of territorial dominance only counted for a four-point lead at the break.
The visitors took the lead with a converted try five minutes after the restart and put in a steadfast defensive effort in the final 20 minutes to seal the win.
Storm captain Cameron Smith had a chance to send the game into golden-point with two minutes to play but sprayed his touchline penalty kick to the right.
“Unfortunately I missed… you back yourself to get them and it didn’t work out for us,” said Smith after the loss.
“When the referee blew the whistle I was thinking run it but we had a quick chat and a few of us decided we’d have a shot at goal.
“It was like we just couldn’t find the last pass or the last couple of metres to get over the line, I think that is where the frustration comes from.”
Coach Craig Bellamy provided a stinging assessment of his side’s performance in the loss to the Dragons a fornight ago.
However this time around Bellamy was left somewhat satisfied with the effort, given it was the first time for the year his side managed to keep the opposition to single digits.
“It is certainly our best defensive effort of the year,” said Bellamy.
“But it is disappointing we couldn’t find enough points to win the game.
“We just couldn’t seem to finish them off… obviously the Bulldogs are a good defensive side but I thought at stages we had done enough to crack them.
“At the end there we probably weren’t as sharp as we’d like to be with our attack.”
The Storm will take on the 15th-placed Canberra Raiders next Saturday night at AAMI Park.