Titans hooker weathers the Storm - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Titans hooker weathers the Storm

Daniel Pace 14/08/2011 02:49:53 PM Comments (0)

A key component of Melbourne Storm's game plan against the Gold Coast Titans focused on running big forwards at Matt Srama in the hope the pint-sized hooker would crumble in defence.

And while the Storm certainly did punch holes in the Titans' line as they ran away with a 40-16 victory at Skilled Park on Saturday night, the tough-as-teak Srama never cracked.

The 20-year-old rookie made a game-high 53 tackles in a stellar 80-minute performance in a losing side.

"We wanted to run a bit of traffic at him because they (the Titans) didn't have another dummy-half on the bench," Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy revealed.

"He's a game player defensively and he's clever with the footy."

Storm skipper Cameron Smith, considered the best hooker in the game, was also glowing in his praise of the 82kg Srama, who was playing Toyota Cup when Melbourne smashed the Titans 40-12 in round two.

"He's a terrific young player," Smith said.

"He's very committed to his football and he always gets his body in front of blokes coming at him, no matter how big they are.

"We wanted to try and pick him out and tire him out but he just kept turning up and getting his job done."

Smith compared Srama to the man he replaced at the Titans - the injured Nathan Friend (shoulder). The Warriors-bound No.9 is renowned for his courageous defence and boundless energy.

"Obviously Friendy's more experienced but he's (Srama) a goer and he wants to be where the ball is," the Melbourne veteran said.

"He's a smart young kid. He's only had a handful of games but I'm sure with a bit more time on the park he'll get a bit better."

Smith then realised he may have been giving Srama too much of a wrap as he jokingly added: "I hope he doesn't get too much better - he might be looking at my spot in the Queensland team."

Titans coach John Cartwright was reluctant to make comparisons between Srama and Friend but said his rookie rake had been a shining light in the Titans' miserable season.

"On potential he could be anything and he's got the attitude to do it," Cartwright said about Srama, who has played just 11 NRL matches.

"It wouldn't surprise me if he got player of the year in both grades (NRL and Toyota Cup). It might be the first time ever."

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