AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND — APRIL 07: Ryan Hoffman of the Storm (C) and his team mates look dejected after their loss in the round five NRL match between the Wests Tigers and the Melbourne Storm at Mt Smart Stadium on April 7, 2018 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Kai Schwoerer/Getty Images)
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND — APRIL 07: Ryan Hoffman of the Storm (C) and his team mates look dejected after their loss in the round five NRL match between the Wests Tigers and the Melbourne Storm at Mt Smart Stadium on April 7, 2018 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Kai Schwoerer/Getty Images)

Bellamy could swing axe on stuttering Storm

CRAIG Bellamy has offered no reassurances over halfback Brodie Croft's place in Melbourne's starting side, after the Storm failed to deliver a win in his 400th game as an NRL coach.

The Wests Tigers walked away victorious over the Storm for the second time this season, after former Kiwi international Benji Marshall delivered a stunning field goal to hand his side the 11-10 win in front of his home crowd in Auckland.

It was a massive upset for the reigning premiers, who went down to the Tigers 10-8 just three weeks ago.

Melbourne - who also lost to Cronulla last week - have not suffered back-to-back losses since 2015 and it was young half Brodie Croft who copped the majority of criticism for the defeat.

Melbourne struggled to hit top gear all match.
Melbourne struggled to hit top gear all match.

Fans took to social media after the game calling for the 20-year-old to be dropped after a series of mistakes in the second half allowed Tigers backrower Chris Lawrence to equal the scores at 10-all.

Two weeks ago Bellamy called for fans and critics to have patience with Croft, who has come into the season under a lot of pressure to replace Cooper Cronk who exited the club to sign with the Sydney Roosters..

But after a rocky performance in his 10th NRL match on Sunday night, the young half could be sent back to the Intrust Super Cup in a bid to boost his confidence and give him more experience.

The Storm have managed just one try in their last two matches.
The Storm have managed just one try in their last two matches.

"We'll have a look at the game and decide from there," Bellamy said when asked if Croft's place in the team was in jeopardy.

"It certainly wasn't one of his best performances. He's only a young kid and he's still learning and basically in all of our games this year, he's been under pressure.

"It hasn't been an easy learning curve for him."

Bellamy did praise Croft's halves partner Cameron Munster however, claiming it was one of his best games of the year.

If Croft is to be dropped, Melbourne have a handy replacement option in halfback Ryley Jacks, who is older and more experienced.

The Tigers refused to break yet again.
The Tigers refused to break yet again.

But regardless of who wears the No.7 against Newcastle on Friday, both Bellamy and skipper Cameron Smith were in agreeance that the team had to fix their ball control after Melbourne made 14 errors against the Tigers.

"The ball control was awful was once again," Smith said.

"It's been extremely bad our entire season and that's why we're not winning footy games.

"Until players in our team understand that you can't win a footy game without the ball, we'll keep losing. The onus is on the players. It's got nothing to do with (Bellamy).

"Craig and all of his coaches, they prepare us as good as anyone can prepare us each game. The players just aren't taking ownership of that."



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