Melbourne’s performance has traditionally remained strong despite the club’s heavy Origin representation, but the second-placed Storm flopped in a 36-30 defeat to the Sea Eagles at Brookvale Oval on Thursday night.
The scoreboard flattered the visitors, who trailed 36-12 with five minutes remaining before piling on a flurry of tries in a wild finish.
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Bellamy was scathing in his assessment of Melbourne’s display, even labelling it “soft”.
“After about 60 minutes we were getting what we deserved. We sort of sparked a bit at the end, but that’s too late,” Bellamy said.
“At the end of the day, if you’re going to win games here at this level you need to be pretty consistent the whole 80 minutes – and we certainly weren’t.
“We can make some excuses about rep round and whatever, but Manly was in the same boat.
“I was just really disappointed in our defence and really disappointed in some individual performances. Just weren’t up to scratch.”
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The Storm conceded 18 points in an opening half for the first time since round 18, 2019, when the Titans ran in three converted tries on the Gold Coast.
Speed demons Jason Saab and Tolutau Koula bagged doubles, and back-rower Haumole Olakau’atu scored a try off a 20-metre run that made the Melbourne defence look frail at best.
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“We were all over the place, especially in the first hour … (it was) just about making your tackles. How many soft tries they scored. They were just going through us. At the end of the day that’s not good enough,” Bellamy said.
“I’m not going to be too hard on them because, as I said, at the end of the day, our effort areas have been good this year.
“If you want to come up with some excuses you can, but at the end of the day, in past years when we’ve had the rep round our guys have really worn it as a badge of honour to back up and back up and play well. I’m not sure we quite did that today.”
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Gun fullback Ryan Papenhuyzen played his first match since round nine, when he injured his left hamstring in a clash with the Dragons.
The New South Welshman got through the entire game and blitzed Manly with two tries in the final five minutes, but his output was meagre.
“I think it’s going to take him a couple of weeks to get back into rhythm again,” Bellamy said.
“But we saw what he can do a little bit at the end.
“Hopefully he can get a little bit more involved every game he plays.”
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