The ever-disappointing Brisbane Broncos welcomed a Melbourne Storm team searching for yet another NRL Premiership, in a big clash at Suncorp Stadium
The Storm started the game in the exact fashion that they’d wish, as a kick along the ground from Cameron Smith, ricocheted, and then kicked back ahead by Kenny Bromwich, and fumbled by full-back Anthony Milford which allowed Josh Addo-Carr to pounce on the loose ball for the first try.
Just a few minutes later though, Brisbane hit back as the ball was spread over to the left-hand edge through Milford and Darius Boyd out to Herbie Farnworth, with the young English winger sliding over to score. Or so they thought.
On second viewing, Farnworths left boot hit the touchline before the ball was grounded and the try was scrubbed off.
In the 13th minute, Farnworth was determined not to be denied.
It was a case of deja vu as Boyd and Milford combined once again to release the Englishman, and this time he slid over.
In the 20th minute, the Melbourne Storm were caught offside, which allowed Kotoni Staggs to add the two points and put the Broncos in the lead.
After dominating possession for a 15 minute period, the Broncos began letting Melbourne back into the game, and just before the half-hour mark, an offside penalty gave Cameron Smith the chance to level up from the tee.
With five minutes to go until the break, the Storm seemed to flick and switch as they camped deep inside the Broncos half.
Melbourne took the lead from absolutely nowhere though as Hughes was caught in midfield with nowhere to go, but ducked under the tackle of Jamil Hopoate, break through the defence and ran away to score.
The Broncos managed to hold the Storm out for the remainder of the half and went into the break just six points behind.
HALF-TIME: Brisbane Broncos 8-14 Melbourne Storm
The second half started the same as the first as the Storm extended their lead.
Addo-Carr broke to the 30-metre line, and a few tackles later, Cameron Munster’s deft touch onto Bromwich allowed the big man to crash over.
Things went from bad to worse for the Broncos in the 55th minute as Cameron Smith and Dale Finucane combined to tip the ball onto Tino Faasuamaleaui who crashed over from close range through Ben Te’o to score.
Just before the hour mark though, Brisbane pulled a score back.
Brodie Croft kicked towards Addo-Carr but Xavier Coates outjumped his opposite number, with the ball bouncing back towards Kotoni Staggs with the centre sliding over.
However, the ball travelled forward off Coates onto Addo-Carr so the try was disallowed for a knock-on.
Having been denied at one end, the Broncos were struggling to contain Melbourne at the other.
Cameron Munster looked to be wrapped up 10-metres out but managed to get an offload away to Ryan Papenhuyzen,
The full-back then raced towards to line and dotted down despite the effort of Milford and Staggs in defence.
Cameron Smith converted to make it a 22-point lead with 19 minutes on the clock.
The Broncos were still looking to put points on the board though and managed to force multiple repeat sets over the next five minutes.
A dropped ball from Thomas Dearden relieved all the pressure on the Storm and the visitors quickly turned defence into attack after a break from Suliasi Vunivalu.
Jahrome Hughes floated a pass out to Papenhuyzen, who beat the inside shoulder of Farnworth, then threw a pass back inside to Hughes to pick up his second of the night.
Following a 40/20 from Cameron Smith, the Storm searched for try number seven.
The Broncos then found themselves down to 12 following a professional foul from Tevita Pangai Junior, after kicking the ball away inside the 20-metre line directly after the 40/20.
Paul Momirovski collected the ball at first receiver and threw a horrible pass out to Addo-Carr. However, because the Broncos defence had shifted infield, the winger still had plenty of time to pick up the ball on the bounce and slide over in the corner.
Melbourne weren’t finished racking up the points either as with five minutes remaining Cameron Smith picked up Hughes’ ricocheted kick, and then passed inside to Faasuamaleaui who would cross easily for his second.
Smith then converted to take his total NRL points to 2700.
The Storm would have the ball in hand in the final minute, but Cameron Smith’s crossfield kick wasn’t controlled by Vunivalu and the game came to an end.
FULL-TIME: Brisbane Broncos 8-46 Melbourne Storm
Milford, Farnworth, Staggs, Boyd, Coates, Croft, Dearden, Flegler, Paix, Haas, Ofahengaue, Pangai Junior, Carrigan
Interchanges: Gamble, Kennedy, Hopoate, Te’o
Goals: Staggs (2/2)
Papenhuyzen, Addo-Carr, Lee, Olam, Vunivalu, Munster, Hughes, Welch, C. Smith, Asofa-Solomona, Kaufusi, K. Bromwich, Finucane
Interchanges: Momirovski, B. Smith, Faasuamaleaui, Vete
Tries: Addo-Carr (2), Hughes (2), Bromwich, Faasuamaleaui (2), Papenhuyzen
Goals: Smith (6/8)
Referee: B. Cummins
Touch Judges: B. Sharpe, P. Gough
Video Referee: B. Scott
Image Source: @NRL (Twitter)