STORM’S HOME AWAY FROM HOME IS SUNCORP STADIUM
Sometimes all stats provide is non delicious filler to be included in previews to various matches but the Storm’s love affair for Suncorp Stadium was noteworthy before the game and undeniable afterwards.
Coming into the game they hadn’t lost a game at Suncorp Stadium during the regular NRL rounds since 2009, their record continued by winning by a point against North Queensland in the double header earlier this season.
Maybe part of their success comes down to their two superstar’s affinity with the hallowed turf as part of Queensland’s decade of success. Whatever the reason, the Broncos will look worryingly at the 2017 draw next year for the same fixture. Maybe they could on sell the game to a regional venue or PNG.
MELBOURNE SIMPLY BRILLIANT
There’s not a great deal of sparkle to the Melbourne Storm’s play, but it sure is effective. Even their two main stars would be hardly what you call electric, spine tingling talent, but they are just so good at what they do.
The plays that led to the many tries scored are so simply constructed. Take the first try for instance. All it took to break the early deadlock was a short crisp pass from Cooper Cronk, and a perfectly timed run from Kevin Proctor. Their other seven tries come with not a great deal of flair, just efficient brilliance through great vision or inch perfect kicks from one of their big names or the unheralded players.
The unheralded players is what Melbourne do best. Taking fringe players from other teams or players who can quite crack it at other clubs and turn them into quality first graders, or even take risks on players other clubs wouldn’t dare with. For example try scoring machine Suliasi Vunivalu started off the year in the Intrust Super Cup for the Easts Tigers and has now scored 16 tries in 10 games. It is Melbourne’s attitude towards recruitment that has seen them nab players like Cameron Smith, Cooper Cronk and Billy Slater, and they are consistently rewarded year after year.
WHERE TO FOR THE BRONCOS
Can it get worse for the Broncos? The answer is yes, but Broncos fans will be desperately hoping that Brisbane can turn things around by their next game. They have now lost 6 of their last 8 and their poor form has escalated lately having conceded 88 points and scoring just 20 in their previous two matches. To be blunt they look horrible.
Is it the Origin period that can be blamed, or the inexperience bench, or the lackluster at best form of their halves Anthony Milford and Ben Hunt? Hunt is nowhere near the form that he reached last year, and whilst Milford has shone at certain times in 2016, of late he was been almost invisible. Both players are key to the side’s chances, and neither will affected by Origin, so excuses should be low.
No doubt current Queensland coach Kevin Walters will be watching with interest, and maybe the recent form of the Broncos halves during this origin more than the night out bonding for which they were suspended in 2015 will cost the Broncos playmakers chances at Origin instead.
WINGERS TELL THE STORY
Contrasting fortunes for the wide men for both sides just about sums up how the game went.
Melbourne’s two Fijian flyers Koroibete and Vunivalu terrorised the Broncos, and finished with four tries between them and another hat trick to Vunivalu. Koroibete chalked up 146 metres from 14 runs. Whilst in comparion the Broncos’ Lachlan Maranta was average and Corey Oates went off injured early, replaced by Kodi Nikorima on the wing and was found out on several occasions.
Lachlan Maranta is a safe choice on the wing, but surely with all 6 feeder clubs in the Intrust Super Cup and the Under 20’s team, there’s a player out there in the system they could risk and turn to.
Before their injuries, Carlin Anderson and Marmin Barba from the Ipswich Jets would be the first to draft in, but injuries mean they won’t be able to now, although Wayne Bennett had a chance and declined.
Even looking around the Broncos feeder clubs, there are names like Marion Seve at Souths Logan, the fiery Curtis Johnson from Redcliffe, and try scoring machine Michael Purcell from Ipswich who scored many tries in the Brisbane Premiership, including 2 lots of 5 wins and hasn’t stopped since joining the Intrust Super Cup
Maranta is a good player, but maybe the Broncos need to take more of a risk on the wing if they want to turn around their current rut.
TRIES: K. Proctor (14m) R. Morgan (18m) S. Vunivalu (22m) C. Blair (27m) S. Vunivalu (33m) M. Koroibete (45m) S. Vunivalu (65m) C. Blair (69m)
GOALS: C. Smith 8/8
TRIES: J. Roberts (38m)
GOLAS: C. Parker 1/1