With five first grade stars confirmed to be leaving the Dragons next season, emotions ran high after the contest. No one was more saddened at the result than departing Captain Trent Barrett who struggled for words when interviewed at the post match conference.
The five-eighth, Wigan-bound next season after ten years in the red and white vee, did all he could on the field to get his side home, but couldn't hide his disappointment after the game.
“I’m very proud to be captain of this side”, said Barrett.
“It would have been real nice to play next week, but it’s not to be.”
“I really don’t know what to think now to be honest, my heads a bit all over the shop. It wasn’t supposed to end this way.”
Along with their captain, ‘The Bull’ Luke Bailey, Clint Greenshields, Matt Bickerstaff and Shaun Timmins will all be moving on.
Pulling off a set play to perfection, the Storm registered their first points through exciting centre Greg Inglis. From the scrum base, two second man plays were engineered , culminating with Inglis breaking the outstretched arms of Mark Gasnier to score. Cameron Smith converted for 6-0.
The Dragons continued to come close to scoring. Wes Naiqama dived over in the corner after 24 minutes, but the final pass from Matt Cooper was ruled to have gone forward by referee Steve Clark.
Cooper made up for the pass in his sides next set of six, crossing out wide after rolling onto a classic Ashton Sims offload. Gorrell’s conversion from 12 metres in from touch levelled the scores at six all.
Sadly, the Dragons momentum was short lived after Matt King put Melbourne back in front just two minutes later. The International outside back flew high to grab a Cronk cross field bomb to score. Smith’s conversion enabled Melbourne to take a six point lead into half time.
Although no points were scored in the opening 20 minutes of the second half, the atmosphere and the desperation was building.
With 19 minutes on the clock a controversial scrum feed was awarded to the Storm just ten metres out from the Dragons line. From the scrum, Melbourne added insult to the decision with a try to Steve Turner.
With close to 35,000 Dragons fans on the edges of their seats, their side almost gave them a reason to cheer when Naiqama looked to have scored with 11 minutes remaining. After numerous replays, the winger was ruled to have been miraculously held up by Inglis. The very next tackle however, the Dragons were in through Morris.
Mat Head failed with his conversion attempt, leaving the Dragons behind by eight with ten minutes remaining.
More Dragons attacking raids followed in the ensuing sets, but the Storms scramble defence held firm.
The death knell officially sounded with three minutes to go when Antonio Kaufusi cruised through some tired Dragons arms tackles to wrap up the contest.