The New Zealand Warriors went down 12-20 to the Melbourne Storm at Auckland's Mount Smart stadium, a loss which also left prop Sam Rapira ruled out for three months with injury.
The Warriors engineered tries in the opening 14 minutes in front of a sold out crowd against the National Rugby League competition's leading side but allowed the Storm to come back at them, going into the break with just a 12-10 lead.
The Storm outplayed them in the second half, scoring two tries.
The loss leaves the Warriors still in ninth with a five wins-seven losses record.
Rapira was forced off after rupturing the triceps in his left arm; after the match it was confirmed he would need surgery and faced three months of the side-line.