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Storm humbled by brilliant Raiders

Melbourne's State of Origin period has become a state of emergency.
Storm humbled by brilliant Raiders
by NRL

By Guy Hand

MELBOURNE, July 7 AAP - Melbourne's State of Origin period has become a state of emergency.

Storm coach Craig Bellamy admitted he was embarrassed with his team's performance in a 40-12 defeat by Canberra at AAMI Park on Saturday night which leaves the ladder leaders teetering with three losses in their past four matches.

Raiders winger Edrick Lee helped himself to a hat-trick of tries, newly-signed Sandor Earl grabbed a double and centre Blake Ferguson and fullback Reece Robinson were brilliant as the NRL's top guns were turned into pop guns.

The Storm have lost three of their six matches played during this season's Origin period.

Without skipper Cameron Smith, who was pulled out of the team following his Queensland exertions this week, and injured Billy Slater, the Storm were bludgeoned from kick-off.

But Bellamy wasn't prepared to blame the Origin period for his team's unusually lacklustre performance, and threatened personnel changes for his side's home clash with the Cowboys next weekend.

"Some of our defence was downright embarrassing tonight," Bellamy said.

"Tonight I couldn't say that (the Origin period was to blame) at all ... I can't really explain why we defended like we defended out there tonight.

"I'm pretty sure there'll be some changes."

Melbourne remain top of the ladder, but they are now just two points clear of the Bulldogs.

The visitors were 10-0 up inside 11 minutes with tries to Ferguson and Robinson - the latter set up by the fullback with a superb pass to winger Earl for a 40-metre run before Robinson was on hand to receive the return pass.

Storm centre Justin O'Neill pulled a try back in the 16th minute, but the expected Melbourne fightback never came.

Instead the Raiders filleted the Storm's paper-thin defence at will for eight tries - only the second time in Bellamy's decade at the club they have conceded that many in a match.

Robinson was once more the creator in the 26th minute, sending Lee over in the corner.

Three minutes later, Ferguson brushed off two attempted Storm tackles before unloading to Earl for another try and a 20-6 lead.

O'Neill had his and the Storm's second try on the stroke of halftime, and Gareth Widdop's conversion sent Melbourne into halftime flattered at only 20-12 down.

The Raiders took just two minutes after the break to move the game into embarrassment mode, with Lee over for his second after a superb long pass from five-eighth Josh McCrone.

Further tries to Jarrod Croker, Earl and Lee cemented the Raiders' dominance as they kept the Storm scoreless in the second half.

The Raiders now have back-to-back wins after beating the Dragons last Monday night.

But coach David Furner wasn't pumping up a team which remains in the bottom half of the table.

"It's about having that consistent team week-in, week-out ... we needed to focus on the areas we needed to focus on, and that's all we can do," Furner said.


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