Canterbury Bulldogs too big, too strong as young Melbourne Storm show inexperience at losses


Worryingly, Asofa-Solomona had to be substituted in the second half with a knee injury.

Bellamy said Asofa-Solomona appeared to have an internal ligament injury that would likely cost him a couple of weeks on the sidelines.

The Bulldogs’ second rower, Villame Kikau, undid an otherwise strong performance by being reported for a trip in the final minutes and sent into the Sin Trap.

“I haven’t looked closely, but I’m not overly concerned,” said Bulldogs coach Cameron Ciraldo.

“I don’t know much about it and I’m just new to it but hopefully he’s doing well.

“We have a good squad there. We’ve got some guys moving up. Jacob Preston played his second game tonight and he was amazing. Jake Averillo, Jacob Kiraz [were good] and Paul Alamoti played his second game tonight.

“We have some young players who are ready to show what they can do. I’m confident about which side we will be releasing in the next few weeks.”

The Bulldogs pushed forward early when hooker Reed Mahoney threw a short pass to Jacob Preston, who shot through a gap to score.

Young Tonumaipea forced an early turnover and gave the right flank that much-needed lead early on, but he was sent into the trap for 10 minutes after attacking a player without the ball during a linebreak.

The Bulldogs quickly seized the advantage, attacking on the right and quickly coming on a second try when winger Jacob Kiraz jumped over to give his club a 10-0 lead.

The Storm’s attack lacked luster and they struggled to maintain possession or field position, which soon resulted in another goal conceding as their left edge gave way to former Storm Premiership winger Josh Addo-Carr, to charge past the touchline and score after a quick pass from his Bulldogs teammates.

The Bulldogs' Josh Addo-Carr scores a try against his former team.

The Bulldogs’ Josh Addo-Carr scores a try against his former team.Credit:Getty Images

The 16-0 deficit at half-time could have been even worse if Kikau’s last-minute attempt had been allowed, but he was ruled out for an earlier infringement.

Maybe after 57 percent possession, 26 missed tackles from Storm and a whopping 26 tackles in the first 40 minutes, they would have wanted more points.

Canterbury opened the first half determined to end the competition and they did so confidently as Kiraz overpowered his defenders and scored his second try before center Jake Averillo scored to make it 26-0 minutes later.

Asofa-Solomona gave the home fans something to cheer for in the 54th minute as he fended off two defenders and drove across the try line to make it 26-6, but the tall striker soon limped away with a leg injury and failed to return.

Jahrome Hughes goes over for a Storm attempt in the Bulldogs loss.

Jahrome Hughes goes over for a Storm attempt in the Bulldogs loss.Credit:Getty Images

Katoa didn’t have the best opening hour, but he stormed in with two powerful runs that gave Hughes the platform for a try to make it 26-12 with 20 minutes to go.

Former North Queensland winger Kane Bradley, who joined Storm on a train-and-trial deal, made his club debut in the final minutes to become Storm’s No. 228 player.

The Storm plays the Gold Coast Titans next Saturday at 15:00 AEDT on the Gold Coast. Canterbury Bulldogs too big, too strong as young Melbourne Storm show inexperience at losses

Ryan Sederquist

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