Drinkwater suffers pec tear in Storm loss to Cowboys

Melbourne have suffered a massive blow heading into the start of the season with young gun Scott Drinkwater tearing a pectoral muscle in the 14-6 loss to North Queensland in Saturday night's trial in Mackay.

Storm officials said the injury would be assessed in the next few days but the talented fullback is set for a lengthy stint on the sidelines.

The match itself was intense in defence but lacking polish in attack.

It took 32 minutes for Cowboys back-rower Gavin Cooper to bag the game's first try and that was followed soon after by Scott Drinkwater crossing for Melbourne off a Cameron Munster grubber.

The presence of so many big names, including Cameron Smith, Munster, Felise Kaufusi, Matt Scott, Jason Taumalolo, Josh McGuire and Michael Morgan ensured the trial would be played with NRL-style intensity and points would be hard to come by.

While the defence was strong, it was an error-riddled performance from both clubs in attack. Completion rates were poor, ball control letting down each team at crucial stages of the game.

The Storm were able to mount some pressure off the back of Smith and Munster but failed to find points despite keeping the Cowboys on their line for repeat sets.

Taumololo made some good metres in the opening half. Playing in the second row for the first time since 2014, he looked comfortable in his new role. Scott, in his return from a lengthy injury layoff, and Jordan McLean also showed strength up front.

Cooper continued his prolific try-scoring ability for a forward to give the Cowboys a 6-0 lead after the extras were added by new recruit, fullback Jordan Kahu.

Storm five-eighth Cameron Munster.
Storm five-eighth Cameron Munster. ©Scott Davis/NRL Photos

The Storm responded in the 35th minute when Drinkwater capitalised through the combination of Smith and Munster. Smith converted for a half-time deadlock.

Although scrappy play continued in the second half, the tables turned early on for the Cowboys as they kept the Storm on their line for repeat sets and capitalised when centre Justin O'Neill scored a try in the 48th minute thanks to a Cooper flick pass.

With the Cowboys' second-phase play in particular catching their opponents on the hop, Hampton sealed the win when he touched down in the 70th minute.