The Warriors have been edged in their first NRL pre-season trial, beaten 18-16 by the Storm in Palmerston North.
Results are almost immaterial in these games, but the Auckland club will be disappointed with their final quarter, as they let a 16-14 lead slip, despite the benefit of a strong wind in the second half.
The Warriors had their chances, but errors and disorganisation let them down in the final 10 minutes, as the Storm lifted.
Trials are always a mixed bag, and it's hard to assess with constant personnel changes and shuffling between positions.
This one was the usual mix of rocks and diamonds, with some free flowing backline play, mixed in with the usual early season fumbles.
But this was still a decent hit-out for both teams, with moments of real intensity.
And whatever the stage, good players find a way to stand out and Storm giant Tino Fa'asuamaleaui made a big impact, showing exactly why several clubs were prepared to throw millions at the teenager, with the Titans winning the battle for his signature.
Chanel Harris-Tavita impressed for the Warriors, along with Paul Turner, Hayze Perham and rookie second rower Elias Katoa.
New hooker Wayde Egan got a 25-minute spell in the second half, while Cooper Johns (son of Matthew) had a busy game for Melbourne.
The Storm had almost no NRL regulars but some things never change. Their structure and line speed was impressive, as was their ability to lift when it mattered.
The Warriors, who had more name players among their squad, had their moments but weren't as composed defensively, with Melbourne fully deserving their four-tries-to-three victory.
The Storm started well. They were almost over after seven minutes, with only strong defence from Perham preventing a try in the corner, before hooker Harry Grant opened the scoring moments later, darting over from an offload after strong work from Fa'asuamaleaui.
But the Warriors worked their way back into the match, and got their reward after Turner took advantage of Adam Tuimavave-Gerard's power, as the back rower drew in three defenders.
Swift thinking from Harris-Tavita extended their advantage, as the halfback took a quick tap and forced his way over from 10 metres out.
But the Storm finished the first period well. Sandor Earl used his size to cross in the corner – after slick hands created an overlap – before a storming Brenko Lee run created the try of the match. The journeyman winger beat three players on a 50 metre kick return, with Johns backing up, in the best traditions of Cooper Cronk, to dot down by the posts.
After enjoying some decent possession early in the second half, the Warriors created a good overlap play, with Katoa sending Setu Tu over in the corner.
But back-to-back errors created pressure for the home side, with former Warriors prop Albert Vete prominent, and back rower Chris Lewis finished off wide to put the Victorian team back into the lead with eight minutes to play.
The Warriors had opportunities — the best from a scrum 20 metres out with two minutes to play — but handling errors blew the chance.
Warriors 16 (P Turner, C Harris-Tavita, S Tu, tries; C Harris-Tavita, A Keighran goals)
Storm 18 (H Grant, S Earl, C Johns, C Lewis tries; C Johns goal)