We got what we deserved: Bellamy laments defeat
MELBOURNE Storm coach Craig Bellamy lamented "missed tackles" and "game management" after falling desperately short of upstaging reigning premiers Sydney Roosters in their Good Friday clash.
The Storm rattled off 12 unanswered points in a pulsating second half at AAMI Park to level the scores at 20-20 with 30 minutes to go, but faltered at crucial stages.
A dropped ball late in regulation sent the grand final replay to extra-time, but a missed tackle, which gifted Rooster Sitili Tupouniua free metres from the kick return, sealed Melbourne's fate.
"Missed tackles was huge. It's a big effort to kick a field goal from that far out anyway but to let them go 30 metres... that basically broke our back," Bellamy said.
"I wouldn't say we started slow but it was just a couple of errors... they (Roosters) they weren't down there (in attack) a whole heap but they scored three tries."
The Roosters had excuses, running out gas in the second half, with Clive Churchill medallist Luke Keary off the ground following an accidental head knock.
Despite winning territory and possession down the stretch the Storm executed poorly.
"I just thought in the first half we looked stop go, stop go, stop go, almost like we were a bit hesitant with what we were doing or trying to do," Bellamy said.
"We paid a huge price for that missed tackle.
"We did a really job in the first two or three tackles and then let someone run through our middle... we got what we deserved.
"I thought we had to be a bit more definite with what we were doing.
"I wouldn've liked us to hang on to the ball."
Bellamy confirmed captain Cameron Smith had carried a niggle into the game, which prevented the record-breaker from performing his kicking duties.
"He's a little bit sore at the moment," Bellamy said.
"He's OK to run. He's not getting any younger, we just thought that was the best thing for tonight."
LATRELL STARS FOR PREMIERS
Isn't Latrell Mitchell a beauty!
Just days after Rooster's role model and NRL legend Greg Inglis called time on one of the code's most decorated careers, the precocious 21-year-old centre delivered a masterclass of his own at AAMI Park.
He jumped out of the blocks, scoring the opener just four minutes in, but a solo effort in the 29th minute to gift James Tedesco the easiest of tries was straight out of GI's playbook as Mitchell palmed off Curtis Scott, then Suliasi Vunivalu, then ran some more along the sidelines, before releasing Tedesco with an overhand flick.
But the best was still to come.
With the game on the line, locked at 20-20 in golden point, the Roosters finisher added the punctuation mark - a 45m match-winner that never looked like doing anything but soaring over the black dot on the crossbar.