Munster hat-trick downs Titans
Melbourne have moved back into the top four race, blowing the Titans out of the water in the second half to record a 36-14 win in front of 10,521 fans at AAMI Park.
Despite trailing 6-8 at the break, the men in purple piled on six second half tries to take the points and move back within a game behind fourth-placed South Sydney.
Cameron Munster deservingly stole the show with a second half hat-trick and a game-high 235 metres and three line breaks, continuing to show his worth as a bona-fide star of the future.
A Matt Duffie double capped off an enjoyable afternoon for the Storm faithful as the winger continued his promising NRL return after a two-year, injury-plagued absence.
The Titans arrived in Melbourne with nothing to lose and certainly played like it early on, throwing six offloads inside the first seven minutes.
Their daring resulted in Aiden Sezer opening the scoring with a penalty kick before Kane Elgey crossed under the posts for an 8-0 lead after 20 minutes.
While the Gold Coast were prepared to throw the footy around at every opportunity, they spent much of the first half dodging bullets.
Five disallowed tries to Melbourne in the first half, three from forward passes left the home crowd scratching their lead in disbelief.
A Blake Green forward pass to Jesse Bromwich preceded Kevin Proctor dropping the ball over the line when he appeared certain to score.
Matt Duffie nearly provided the Storm with a much needed spark with a piece aerobatic brilliance but the video review showed his right hand brushed the touchline.
However he would not have to wait long for his next opportunity and this time he made it count in the 33rd minute when he latched onto a Cooper Cronk outward pass, bounced off the goalposts to score.
It was a heart-warming moment for the injury plagued 24-year-old as the try marked his first in the NRL since March 29, 2013.
Melbourne's frustrations continued moments before halftime when Cronk had his try disallowed under the posts before Cameron Munster's flick pass to Marika Koroibete was judged forward.
Despite not being able to get out of their own way in the first half with five penalties and five errors the Titans somehow clung to an 8-6 lead at the break.
That lasted all of two minutes though after halftime when Koroibete capped off a clinical left-sided move by youngsters Munster and Mann to score in the corner.
Despite trailing just 10-8 things were looking ominous for the visitors and in the 52nd minute the situation became a touch more dire.
Creator for the previous try, Munster soon turned scorer with a brilliant solo effort as he collected the ball 20 metres from the Titans line and strolled through the opposition defence as though they were standing still to extend the margin out to eight.
If Duffie confirmed his return to the NRL with his first try, his second announced his prodigious talent.
On 58 minutes Cronk played a cross-field kick to the Duffie direction and the winger used every bit of his 192-centimetre frame to outleap his opposing number in spectacular fashion to send the purple crowd into pandemonium.
Trailing 22-8 the Titans chances were all but snuffed out when David Mead was denied a penalty try despite the video replay making a case that Koroibete held him illegally in the dead-ball line.
Josh Hoffman gave the visitors a glimmer of home when he cut the deficit back to eight with 12 minutes to play.
But from there the purple floodgates opened as Will Chambers crossed as well as Munster twice to secure the points.
Melbourne Storm 36 (Cameron Munster 3, Matt Duffie 2, Marika Koroibete, Will chambers Tries; Cameron Smith 4 Goals) defeated Gold Coast Titans 14 (Kane Elgey, Josh Hoffman Tries; Aiden Sezer 2 Goals, Aiden Sezer Penalty Goal) at AAMI Park. Crowd: 10,521. Half-time: Titans led 8-6.