Titans coach Justin Holbrook was left ruing the one that got away on Thursday night, with his team blowing not just a half-time lead against the competition front-runners but also the chance to put themselves into the box seat for a place in the finals.
The Gold Coast led 10-0 after 11 minutes and 16-12 at the break against Melbourne, before the Storm clicked into gear to run away with a 34-20 win – the premiers' 19th on the trot.
While victory at Cbus Super Stadium could have propelled the Titans above the seventh-placed Knights, the loss means they will drop out of the eight if Canberra defeats Manly on Saturday.
It also sets up a crucial match against Newcastle next Thursday night.
"We did a great job getting ready to play tonight, off a short turnaround," Holbrook said.
Match Highlights: Titans v Storm
"[We had a] really good first half and then not good enough in the second half, that's the difference against the really good sides. You can't afford to have a rest or take a break or they're ready to punish you, and that's what they did to us.
"I'm proud of us for trying us but we just came up with [mistakes]. Defending our line well but just not getting to dummy-half, things like that. It makes it really hard.
"But we learned another good lesson tonight and we've got to get ready for next week."
Something special from Jayden Campbell
Young fullback Jayden Campbell, son of club legend Preston, filled in admirably in the absence of the injured AJ Brimson with two first-half tries.
"The more he plays the better he's going to get," Holbrook said of Campbell, who is set to hold onto the No.1 jersey for the rest of the season with Brimson sidelined with a broken jaw.
"He can offer more, and we need that from him straight away. He's still not wanting to overstep in the way he plays, but we need him to.
"But he's a great young player and he's only going to get better and better."
Adding to the club's injury woes was skipper Kevin Proctor, who suffered a dislocated shoulder eight minutes into the match.
"That doesn't help. You need everything to go well when you're playing against the top sides, and to lose your captain after eight minutes – that made it tough," Holbrook said.
"Hopefully he'll be able to play next week, we're not sure yet but it'd be good if he could."