Melbourne's big names stood tall in the second half as the defending premiers produced a Jekyll and Hyde performance to scrape past Gold Coast 10-8 at Cbus Super Stadium.
Behind 8-0 at half-time, some great individual plays by Cameron Munster, the smarts of Cameron Smith and persistent energy of Billy Slater lifted the Storm to their 16th win of the season.
Slater, in his last match in Queensland, ran for a career-high 298 metres as he would not let up in adding spark to the Storm attack, even when it was misfiring in the first 40 minutes.
And his 19-year-old Titans counterpart, AJ Brimson, was not far behind, running for 214 metres, scoring the first try and making two trysaving tackles.
In the opening 40 an upset seemed on the cards as the Storm had only 37 percent of possession and did little with what they did have.
In contrast the home side looked sharp and Kane Elgey held a ball up on the left edge perfectly for Brimson to score. Taylor converted for 6-0.
Match: Titans v Storm
Round 24 -
Venue: Cbus Super Stadium
- Fox League
- LIVE PASS
The home side felt they should have had a try five minutes later when they ran the ball on the last to give winger Anthony Don space and he grubbered into the in-goal but was obstructed by Slater only for the refs to rule he had simply held his ground.
The Titans settled for two points from a Taylor penalty goal in the next set to lead 8-0.
The Storm should have responded in the 18th minute when Slater burst into the clear and passed to Justin Olam in support but the rookie centre spilt the ball cold.
The Titans would have led by more at the break if not for a magnificent trysaver by Josh Addo-Carr on Phillip Sami after Brimson was put away on the left edge.
Brimson grubbered infield for Sami who looked set to score before Addo-Carr flipped him on his back in the in-goal.
The Titans looked composed but did not score enough tries given their dominance and in the second half the teams swapped personalities.
The Titans started making errors with the ball, conceded six penalties in the first 22 minutes of the half, missed crucial tackles and were dreadful with their last-tackle options.
The Melbourne Storm are certainly not the team you give those liberties to and when they scored through Curtis Scott just six minutes into the second half you could sense they were coming to get the Titans.
The try came after the Storm shifted to the right and Scott beat Konrad Hurrell with a right step and fenced off Will Mathews with a left hand fend. Smith missed the conversion for 8-4.
In the 61st minute the visitors drew level when Munster kept probing across-field to the right, dummying three times before straightening and beating a tackle from Elgey to score. Smith's conversion gave the Storm the lead for the first time at 10-8.
The win puts the Storm a game clear of the Roosters and Rabbitohs as they close in on a third consecutive minor premiership.
The Roosters have a game in hand against the Broncos tonight and face cellar dwellers Parramatta in the last round.
The Storm host Penrith next week while the Rabbitohs play Wests Tigers.
News & Notes: Cameron Munster sent shock waves through the Storm camp when he went down with a knee injury in the 66th minute, but it ended up being a cork just above the knee ... Anthony Don remains equal with David Mead on a Titans record 67 career tries ... Titans skipper Ryan James went off for HIA after 58 minutes and did not return ... Melbourne have now won six of their past seven games against Gold Coast ... Crowd 14,266.