You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Fijian sparks injury depleted Storm

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 1/05/2016 Laine Clark

Melbourne Storm players celebrate after Suliasi Vunivalu scored a try. © AAP Image/Dave Hunt Melbourne Storm players celebrate after Suliasi Vunivalu scored a try. A silver lining has appeared on the injury cloud hovering over the Melbourne Storm: former Auckland-based flyer Suliasi Vunivalu.

Storm coach Craig Bellamy admitted a string of injuries had forced him to blood the Fijian-born 20-year-old this year.

But he is sure glad he did after Vunivalu bagged yet another double to inspire an injury-ravaged Storm's 38-0 win over the Titans at a wet Gold Coast on Sunday.

In his first three games Vunivalu has scored six tries.

He is the only active NRL player to have achieved the feat.

Bellamy needed him to fire after losing Young Tonumaipea (knee), Marika Koroibete (ankle) and Richard Kennar (foot) before kickoff.

Melbourne (7-2 record) were already reeling from the loss of Will Chambers (foot) and Billy Slater (shoulder).

Yet the dramatically reshuffled backline still piled on seven unanswered tries - even scoring with 12 men when New Zealander Kenny Bromwich was sinbinned in the 55th minute for throwing a punch in a melee.

Bellamy admitted he had major concerns about their backline depth but could not be more pleased with the progress of Vunivalu, who shone in two seasons at St Kentigern College and was linked with the Blues before shifting to Melbourne in 2014.

"We knew he had a lot of ability but what he's shown is more than what we thought," Bellamy said.

"He's only played about 20 or 30 games of rugby league in his life.

"He makes the hard things look easy at times and other times the easy things look hard. If he gets a decent run without injury we might have a player on our hands."

Vunivalu crashed down the right sideline in the 27th minute to help Melbourne grab a 20-0 halftime lead.

He effortlessly jumped over the Titans defence to collect a Cooper Cronk cross field kick in the 46th minute to complete his double.

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon