Storm NRL win costly with Hughes injured

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Melbourne's ugly NRL win over Gold Coast has come at a cost with star halfback Jahrome Hughes the latest to join their bulging casualty ward.

The Storm scrapped their way to 32-14 over the last-placed Titans at AAMI Park on Friday night thanks to a hat-trick of tries to Cameron Munster, who started at fullback for the first time since round one in 2018.

But their defensive woes continued with a horror 45 missed tackles, with the bulk coming in the first half, while they also racked up 13 errors.

A better side would have made them pay dearly and while Gold Coast showed grit, they lacked the finishing polish to take control of the game.

Storm coach Craig Bellamy gave credit to the Titans for staying in the fight.

"I was probably hoping that the game was going to get too hard for the Titans but to their credit they just kept fighting," Bellamy said.

"It was a tough second half without Hughesy (Hughes) ... it was a pretty good effort all around."

It was feared Hughes temporarily dislocated his shoulder in contact late in the first half and with no strength in the joint he was replaced in the second stanza by makeshift half Tyran Wishart.

Bellamy said Hughes would head for scans on Saturday but was in a lot of pain.

"He wasn't overly keen to go back on in the second half and when he's thinking that I think it is reasonably serious," Bellamy said.

Gold Coast also lost Aaron Booth 13 minutes into the game when his knee twisted making a tackle with the hooker departing for scans before fulltime.

Coach Justin Holbrook was rattled when talking of the early diagnosis for Booth.

"It's really bad for him, there's a lot wrong, it's going to be really nasty for him," he said.

"He's done everything you could do, he's dislocated it and lots of other stuff."

Melbourne had all the early running, with tries by returning winger Xavier Coates, Munster and Kenny Bromwich setting up a 16-0 lead.

Wests Tigers recruit David Nofoaluma almost opened the try-scoring six minutes in but the ball was dislodged by Titans winger Jojo Fifita.

Just when it looked like the Storm would romp away, Gold Coast fired up with Beau Fermor and then Herman Ese'ese both finding holes to cross three minutes apart.

The Titans further closed the 22-10 halftime deficit with Brian Kelly running on to a neat grubberkick by AJ Brimson.

But Munster magic in the 64th minute gave the home side some breathing room after Cooper Johns, who impressed as his replacement at five-eighth, was brought down just short of the tryline.

Dummy-half Harry Grant then fired a long ball to Munster who glided through the defence for his third of the night.

Young Tonumaipea, playing his first NRL game since 2020 after a Mormon mission and then a stint in rugby, capped the night with a try in the final minute.

Holbrook was happy with the resilience shown by his team, with their losing streak stretching to 10.

"It's hard when we're sitting here losing but the boys are trying hard and physically they did an outstanding job," he said.

"We seem to fight so hard and then have one thing that we don't do well ... it was another big learning lesson for us."

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