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NRL MATCH REPORT | Melbourne Storm 34 Brisbane Broncos 20

The Melbourne Storm have scored a great win at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane, to beat the Broncos 34-20 on Friday night. The result sees the Storm remain fifth on the ladder, while the Broncos are in danger of dropping out of the top eight.

MATCH DETAILS

The Broncos hit the score board first, as an Anthony Milford bomb was eventually finished off by James Roberts in the right corner, putting the home side up 4-0. Four minutes later, after an offside penalty against the Broncos and the Storm marching up into scoring position, Billy Slater knocked a ball on before kicking it forward and scoring. Slater looked convinced he had committed the error in the process, but the bunker thought otherwise and awarded what is arguably the worst try ruling so far in 2018. Two instances afterwards showed the strength in Melbourne’s width in catching the Broncos off guard, first with Josh Addo-Carr setting up Slater close to the posts and then a Suliasi Vunivalu run setting up Addo-Carr for his first of the match, putting the visitors up 18-4 after 21 minutes of play. Surprisingly Brisbane had more possession and a similar completion percentage to Melbourne in the first half, but what stood out as the difference was three line breaks for the Storm and four offloads, which led to two of their three tries.

In the second half, Brisbane came out firing with a Milford 40/20, but like the first half Melbourne’s defence was spread out and strong and prevented another scoring opportunity. The first try of the second half finally came in the 52nd minute, with Isaako receiving a great cutout ball from Nikorima and scoring to bring Brisbane back into the contest. Brisbane immediately gained momentum and a knock on by Vunivalu forced by Matt Lodge set up another try for the home side, with Alex Glenn scoring and reducing the deficit to just four. However like most of the game though, the moment the Storm get a sniff of a chance it is hard to stop them from scoring. A penalty gave the visitors a fresh set of six well within Brisbane’s half, and a grubber kick set up Josh Addo-Carr for his second try of the game. From there, two more Melbourne tries cancelled out a bit of Anthony Milford magic, as the Storm ran out 34-20 winners and deservedly so.

FOUR POINTERS

Questionable try ruling overshadows the contest

Minutes after Brisbane scored, the Storm had an attacking set and on fifth tackle Billy Slater appeared to grubber kick and the ball and ground it. But on replay, and looking at the expression on Slater’s face, he dropped the ball and then kicked it forward. All signs pointed towards a no try, but the bunker had other ideas and awarded the try, saying that a drop kick is legal regardless of if the players are aiming for the posts. Such a ruling goes against the logic of the game, and there will be criticism circulating the media in the coming days over the call.

The Suncorp hoodoo continues for Brisbane

As well as wanting to grab a second straight win against a tough opponent was a goal for this match, to end their horrid run of form at home against the Storm would have been on the minds of Broncos’ players as well. Since a narrow 16-14 win in 2009, the Broncos have now lost eight straight games at home against Melbourne. Overall the Broncos have only won 13 games and lost 30 against the Storm, a record that only looks to get worse as this Melbourne dynasty continues.

Melbourne wingers have all the moves

Josh Addo-Carr and Suliasi Vunivalu have been try scoring machines for their side over the past year or so, but last night they pulled tricks out of the bag as well as their try scoring ability. Addo-Carr used the outside of his right boot numerous times in the game, including a beautiful banana kick at full speed to set up Billy Slater on the inside for the team’s second try. Vunivalu himself threw a great cut out ball, about 20 metres, to his other winger to give Addo-Carr a double. Both men finished with 222 running metres and three tries between them.

Brilliance and blunder for Milford

On fifth tackle Anthony Milford spotted a small gap in the defensive line, popped in a grubber kick and with his pace, managed to retrieve the kick and score under the posts. However moments later, with an underwhelming fifth tackle play and grubber kick from Will Chambers, all Milford had to do was ground the ball and force a goal line drop out for his side. He failed to, and Vunivalu scored in the corner to put the Storm back up by eight and effectively decide the contest. A moment of brilliance that kept his side in the game was quickly outshone by a brain explosion that did the opposite.

WHAT ARE THEY SAYING

Brisbane Coach Wayne Bennett was happy with his side’s ability to match the Strom in the second half, adding “I just like the way we hung in there”. Bennett added that the try for Slater was a game changer, and questioned whether it should have been given.

Melbourne Coach Craig Bellamy praised both sides, saying “both sides showed a bit of tick”. He added that he was happy the way his side responded to Brisbane’s fightback in the second half.

THE RESULT

Storm: 34
Tries: Slater (2) (9m, 16m), Addo-Carr (21m, 61m), Vunivalu (69m), Chambers (71m)
Goals: Smith 5/7
Field Goals: N/A

Broncos: 20
Tries: Roberts (5m), Isaako (52m), Glenn (57m), Milford (66m)
Goals: Isaako 2/4
Field Goals: N/A

SQUADS

Broncos: 1 Darius Boyd, 2 Corey Oates, 3 James Roberts, 4 Tom Opacic 5 Jamayne Isaako, 6 Jack Bird, 7 Anthony Milford, 8 Matthew Lodge, 9 Andrew McCullough 14 Sam Thaiday, 11 Alex Glenn, 12 Korbin Sims, 13 Josh McGuire Interchange 10 Tevita Pangai Jr., 15 Joe Ofahengaue, 16 Kodi Nikorima, 17 Jaydn Su’A

Storm: 1 Billy Slater, 2 Suliasi Vunivalu, 3 Will Chambers, 4 Curtis Scott, 5 Josh Addo-Carr, 6 Cameron Munster, 7 Ryley Jacks, 8 Jesse Bromwich, 9 Cameron Smith, 10 Nelson Asofa-Solomona, 11 Felise Kaufusi, 12 Ryan Hoffman, 13 Tim Glasby Interchange 14 Brandon Smith, 15 Kenneth Bromwich, 16 Christian Welch, 17 Sam Kasiano

Aspiring sports journalist, currently studying at AUT in Auckland, New Zealand.

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