With assistant Craig Hodges thrust into the hot seat, the Titans would have thought their luck had turned when 401-gamer Smith’s first touch of the ball gifted them first points after just two minutes.
The Storm hooker’s pass found the grass, with Brenko Lee swooping to run 45m untouched to score.
Nathan Peats was denied what appeared a try on review three minutes later, with officials ruling there was a hand under the ball.
That only allowed the Gold Coast to improve their position though, when Jarrod Wallace barged through the middle and the Titans led 12-0.
The Storm scored twice from their first four sets though and soon hit the lead when Sandor Earl scored his first NRL four-pointer in nearly six years.
Uncharacteristic Melbourne errors gave Gold Coast a sniff, with Bryce Cartwright running on to a Tyrone Roberts grubber to give the hosts a 18-16 lead approaching the break.
It was business as usual in the second half though as Ryan Papenhuyzen finished another clean break and Smith exploited more vulnerable left edge defence soon after.
Brodie Croft pulled the strings for the Storm, having a hand in three tries, while Titans hooker Peats made 49 tackles.
Suliasi Vunivalu scored a double but was placed on report after tackling Phillip Sami in the air, while Gold Coast fullback AJ Brimson left the field with a suspected hip injury stemming from heavy contact in a tackle.