Storm cop NRL reality check from Panthers

·2-min read

Cameron Munster has described Melbourne's performance in the thrashing by Penrith as being "under 12s" standard - and Storm coach Craig Bellamy tends to agree.

The Storm were brushed aside by the Panthers in a rematch of last year's preliminary final, going down 32-6 in the blockbuster clash of the NRL's Magic Round at Brisbane's Suncorp Stadium on Saturday.

Melbourne were already without fullback Ryan Papenhuyzen and then lost halfback Jahrome Hughes on the day of the game, but Munster said that was no excuse.

"We were poor. I don't care who we had out tonight, we still had a good enough team to give the Panthers a shake," he told the Nine Network.

"We looked like an under 12s team, we don't want to play like that next week."

Bellamy's side were missing a couple of key squad members with Reimis Smith, Christian Welch and Tepai Moeroa all sidelined.

Adding to their woes was the sight of New Zealand international Nelson Asofa-Solomona leaving the changing room in a knee brace.

But after the Storm's high-flying start and an average 54 points scored over the last three weeks, they were handed a bump down to earth.

"We threw three forward passes from dummy half and I can't remember the last time we did that," Bellamy said.

"We didn't show any patience when we had the ball.

"I think we only completed at 50 per cent after ten minutes and that's when they went up 12-0."

Bellamy said his side was "strangled" by the Panthers and they never looked like finding their groove even when Nick Meaney crossed for their sole try of the evening in the 17th minute.

Melbourne made an uncharacteristically high 13 errors and completed at just 66 per cent.

The Storm coach said the loss was a welcome reality check after easily accounting for the Warriors, Newcastle and St George Illawarra over the previous three weeks.

"It was probably a game we needed. That was a good come-down for us, perhaps we're not going as good as other people thought," said Bellamy, whose side will stay in the Sunshine State before next week's game with North Queensland.

"If they didn't think it was going to be a bit different, well, we got a shock.

"Someone said last week that the last three or four weeks were not great preparation for this game against Penrith and he's probably right - but you're not going to get 20 in front and not play to the style you want to play to.

"We haven't been in the trenches like tonight. I think we probably got what we deserved."

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