The NRL's HIA policy is under fire with bloodied Melbourne fullback Jahrome Hughes allowed to play on after a sickening head clash in the Storm's 28-6 win over Canterbury.
Hughes was playing his first match since missing last week's win over the Wests Tigers after being badly concussed in a Magic Round late shot that earned Parramatta winger Maika Sivo a sin-binning and one-game suspension.
But despite laying prone for several minutes while being treated for a nasty head gash after clashing heavily with Storm teammate Dale Funicane in the opening minutes on Sunday at Belmore Sports Ground, Hughes wasn't required to undergo a head injury assessment.
Social media lit up in condemnation after only Fucinane was forced off.
In a cruel blow for Funicane, the under-rated back-rower failed his HIA and was denied one last chance to press his claims for a NSW State of Origin call-up.
Melbourne prop Aiden Tolman was also sent for a first-half HIA as Hughes carried on with head strapping.
The Kiwi-born fullback wasn't the only one cut open, though, with Josh Addo-Carr slicing through the Bulldogs defence for a brilliant 60-metre solo try to send the Storm on their way to a ninth win of the season.
Addo-Carr's was the only try of the first half as Melbourne took an 8-0 lead to the break.
When the electrifying Blues' winger started and finished the Storm's second try early in the second half, the writing appeared on the wall for the Bulldogs.
But an inspired effort from Sauaso Sue dragged the Bulldogs back into the contest, Dean Pay's cellar dwellers trailing just 14-6 with half-an-hour remaining.
In a show of great respect for the Dogs, Melbourne captain Cameron Smith slotted two penalty goals, rather than go for tries, to extend the Storm's lead to 12 points.
Will Chambers and Nelson Asofa-Solomona sealed a hard-earned victory with Melbourne's third and fourth tries late on as the Storm consolidated their place in the top two behind South Sydney entering the Origin period.
The Bulldogs are dead last, behind Penrith on for-and-against, with just three wins from the opening 11 rounds.
Australian Associated Press