Bulldogs 6 Storm 12
"Fake news", Des? Maybe for those who still think the Bulldogs can be a premiership force. Even The Donald can spot the fallacy in that optimistic thinking all the way from the White House.
"Real news", Des? You didn't beat Craig Bellamy and Melbourne in the opening round. Not now. Not ever. Probably not again.
As for that contract extension? Who knows. But after assurances from halfback Moses Mbye that the new game plan was ready to go, there were still remnants of last year's clunky Bulldogs in round one this year. It wasn't all bad – Josh Reynolds ran and threatened. Ditto Mbye. But the hare-brained play in the opposition red zone was still there. In 2017, still just as costly.
And the slow-starting Canterbury have a long way to go to be premiership heavyweights on the evidence of this 80 minutes, surrendering 12-6 to a bruised Storm in a match that featured a scoreless second half.
A fiery clash saw the rugby league relic that is punches being thrown return, Storm gun Cameron Munster on report for a cynical trip on Josh Jackson and the grand finalists' best forward Jesse Bromwich last barely 10 minutes. And still the Bulldogs couldn't quite get the better of their opponents.
A match bubbling under the surface ignited just three minutes from half-time when the Storm's representative centre Will Chambers, in his 150th game, rushed 10 metres to a scrap and appeared to punch Sam Kasiano from behind - and Kasiano was also sin-binned for throwing one in return.
Bellamy later branded it "brave" taking on Kasiano, but knows the ramifications might come next week.
Bromwich trudged off the field inside the first 10 minutes with a possible dislocated thumb as his team already led by 10 points. He will have scans over the weekend to determine the extent of the injury.
"It's come through the skin," Bellamy said. "He felt the bone sticking out and his thumb ripping down. I'd imagine that's going to be a fair few weeks.
"[And] we made it really hard on ourselves to be quite honest. We got off to a flyer and at one stage it was going to be 'how far?' With all due respect, we were probably a bit lucky the rain came when it did. It probably made it hard for them to execute what they were trying to do. Having said that, our effort was tremendous."
It would have been uncomfortable viewing for Bromwich from the sheds, but even as the Bulldogs camped in the Storm half in the second 40 minutes they still couldn't cross.
Despite the Bulldogs being urged on by a stoic 8712 fans, Belmore has long lost its reputation as a burial ground for Canterbury's opponents. In fact, Hasler's side haven't won in three appearances at the ground since beating the Storm in 2015. Make it four now. And the frustration is building, despite Hasler saying there were "good signs".
Said Hasler: "It was all about timing tonight, wasn't it? I thought they got two relatively soft tries. They got the jump on us and that was our own execution. Then the rain was timed perfectly for them.
"I thought we showed plenty to get back into the game. In that second half there were three genuine try-scoring opportunities that we put down. You have to execute in that moment and we didn't. We paid the price for that and ran out of time."
The fact Bellamy's Melbourne usually start the season fast - they've never lost an opening round match since the master coach joined the club in 2003 - wouldn't have filled Bulldogs fans with hope pre-game, even though they had beaten the Storm in their last six clashes.
But not this time. Time after time the Bulldogs threatened - and were turned away. Melbourne's defence is still the best in the league.
No "fake news" there, Des.
Melbourne Storm 12 (Cheyse Blair, Suliasu Vunivalu tries; Cameron Smith 2 goals) defeated Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs 6 (Josh Reynolds try; Kerrod Holland goal) at Belmore Sportsground. Referees: Gerard Sutton, Matt Noyen. Crowd: 8712.