This was always going to be a mismatch. The Titans showed some early cheek, the scores level up to the half-hour mark courtesy of a Brian Kelly try. But that was as close as it got. Having beaten last year’s grand finalists in consecutive weeks without Cameron Munster, the Storm were far too strong upon his return.
Munster took little time to put his mark on the game. Returning sooner than expected from a knee injury, the Maroons pivot scored the first try himself and set up the second with a sublime cut-out pass to Josh Addo-Carr. The ‘Fox’ bagged his second four-pointer late in proceedings, a long-range intercept effort that allowed him and his side to streak away.
The result catapults the Storm into a share of the ladder lead alongside the Eels, who have a tricky assignment against arch-rivals Manly on Saturday.
The Titans, who came from behind against the Warriors last week, feel they are building towards something under coach Justin Holbrook. They will be stronger next season for the addition of Tino Faasuamaleaui next season, the big Storm forward who ran for more metres than any other forward except Asofa-Solomona. A favourable decision from David Fifita would help as well, as the Bronco considers taking up one of the biggest deals in league history.
This was another masterclass from Cameron Smith. The wily old hooker had a hand in the majority of his side’s seven tries, as well as kicking seven goals.
The Storm have quickly settled into their new surrounds. Forced to flee Melbourne, they reside with their families at the picturesque Twin Waters Resort and play at a ground that several players have frequented during stints with feeder team Sunshine Coast Falcons. Many Stormers have deeper Queensland roots. Without adding another franchise, Peter V’landys has given the Sunshine state another team to support.
“Hopefully we can stay here and get some support from the local people,” Storm coach Craig Bellamy said.
“Hopefully we can put on a few more displays like we did tonight.”