Storm coach threatens to wield axe
Melbourne Storm coach Craig Bellamy has threatened to wield the axe, describing Saturday night's 38-36 loss to the Gold Coast Titans as the worst defensive performance from his side since he took over the head-coaching role in 2003.
The Storm missed 31 tackles, but the most alarming fact was that they conceded seven tries, two of which came within the last six minutes to secure the Titans an unlikely victory.
To make matters worse, Melbourne completed at just 61 per cent, completing 19 of 31 sets and having just 41 per cent of possession because of this.
The Storm hadn't conceded 38 points or more since their 40-12 loss to the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs at nib Stadium in Round 4 of the 2014 season.
Aware of this, a livid Bellamy spoke to media after the Storm's loss on Saturday night, cursing his side's poor attitude and revealing that many of his players are running out of chances to turn it around.
"We didn't control the ball again and I thought our defence was really poor.
"We pride ourselves on defence at our club and I can't remember a poorer defensive effort than what we put up tonight. It's a real low for me.
"You don't want to go out there and defend like the way we did. To score 36 points and still lose just isn't on.
"At the end of the day [the attitude isn't right]. I was particularly disappointed with our defensive effort.
"You can't keep playing great all year, but there was a whole heap of difference between our defensive performance tonight and our other worse defensive performance this year.
"Most of the young guys that have come into our squad have done a really good job and built up some brownie points, but a few of them threw away their brownie points tonight and they won't get too many chances."
It is a strong message from Bellamy who demands the best from his players and no one knows this more than captain Cameron Smith.
A typically honest Smith blamed his side's lack of execution for the loss, demanding improvement from he and his teammates.
"We had a pretty strong game plan that we came to execute and we didn't do that," Smith said.
"We started poorly and then we got our way back into the game with some pretty good footy.
"We never really got into any rhythm throughout the game. It was bit of a to-and-fro. They'd score points then we'd score points.
"In the second half we were up with less than 10 minutes to go and we should be winning those games."
Melbourne still sit top of the NRL Telstra Premiership ladder with an 8-2 record, but with the State of Origin period coming up every win is vital.
It's why the Storm may see Saturday's loss as the most costly of the season, but they have a chance to rectify it when they take on the South Sydney Rabbitohs in Round 11 at none other than nib Stadium – the arena where Melbourne last conceded 40 points.