After trailing 10-nil at half-time, the Bulldogs made it a highly entertaining match but couldnt overtake the 2012 Premiers.
Both sides started the match as they were named at the start of the week.
The opening exchanges were spent with an even amount of possession for both sides. A couple of early penalties gave each an opportunity to attack in the red zone but neither side could turn it into points.
It was in the 22nd minute where Cooper Cronk got himself heavily involved and after a double pump sent lock forward Ryan Hinchcliffe through to score under the uprights. It was off the back of a penalty against Captain Michael Ennis who held down Billy Slater after he made half a break. Storm Captain Cameron Smith had problems converting with the Storm leading 6-nil.
The Storm were able to go over for their second try of the night through winger Mahe Fonua. A double knock-on on the Bulldogs 10m line gave the home side possession. The first coming through Drury Low and Matt Duffie unable to then control it. From the first play the Storm put on a sweeping play out to the left with the ball going through the hands of Slater, Gareth Widdop and then on to Fonua who just managed to stay in the field of play and score the try. Smith couldnt convert from the sideline with the Storm leading 10-nil.
As the clock wound down the Storm had back to back sets but the blue and whites were able to defend well with the Storm going to the break leading 10-nil.
The second half couldnt have started any better for the Bulldogs with a try being scored in the 45th minute. It came through what many were saying was a controversial call where Slater was placed on report for kicking out at young gun David Klemmer when up in the air taking a bomb. From the penalty the Bulldogs worked the ball up the middle and with the defence wedged in, Josh Reynolds chose to put in a cross-kick and winger Sam Perrett flew on to the ball and score in the north-east corner. Kicker Krisnan Inu converted to close the gap to 10-6.
The next period of play was dominated by the blue and whites but it was in the 63rd minute where the Storm took the game by the stranglehold and put on two tries to extend their lead. It was again Cronk who orchestrated, this time off the boot. It was Duffie who was the benefactor and he managed to get up above Mitch Brown to come down with the ball and score. Smith converted with the score at 16-6. Just five minutes later it was interchange forward Lagi Setu who went over. He took a charging run and reached out to plant the ball on the line. Smith again converted from 10m to the right of the uprights with the lead out to 22-6.
With the match looking to be over it was the determination shown by the Bulldogs to get them back into the game. An Inu try in the 71st minute was the first of two that had all the fans on the edge of their seats. The Kiwi international crashed over after beating a number of defenders earlier in the play. He quickly converted his own try with the gap reduced to 22-12.
Just four minutes later it was the lightning speed of Josh Morris that ended with Kris Keating going over. Morris showed a great turn of speed to get on the outside of Duffie and he found Brown on the inside and the former Tiger got the ball to Keating who went over untouched. Inu converted with the score left at 22-18.
The final four minutes was full of great play but the Bulldogs werent able to level things up with the Storm holding on for a 22-18 victory.
STORM 22 (Hinchcliffe, Fonua, Duffie, Setu Tries; Smith 3 Goals) def. BULLDOGS 18 (Perrett, Inu, Keating Tries; Inu 3 Goals)
At: AAMI Park, Melbourne