BRISBANE BRONCOS 8
Tries: Dale Copley, Alex Glenn
Field Goals: nil
MELBOURNE STORM 30
Tries: Ryan Hoffman 2, Marika Koroibete, Ryan Hinchcliffe, Cooper Cronk
Goals: Cameron Smith 5
Field Goals: nil
Melbourne have sent a warning out to the other National Rugby League clubs in finals contention with a 30-8 demolition of Brisbane at Suncorp Stadium.
It took only five minutes for the Storm to score through ex-Tiger Marika Koroibete off the back of a pin-point Cooper Cronk cross field kick. This was a result of Brisbane continuing to be starved of possession within the opening exchanges, and a poor early tackle kick which put the visitors on the front foot. Ryan Hoffman went close in the next set following the Koroibete try when Lachlan Maranta allowed to ball to bounce, but knocked the ball forward.
Will Chambers took an intercept that resulted in Hoffman scoring a somewhat controversial try in the fourteenth minute. The video officials amazingly deeming the challenge by Billy Slater on Ben Hunt was okay. The frustration took it’s toll on Sam Thiaday who took Ryan Hinchcliffe without the ball a few minutes after the Hoffman try. But it was when Brisbane had the ball their executions let them down for most of the night.
Fourteen minutes before the break Brisbane opened their account with Dale Copley finding the line. Copley’s fifteenth try for the season put him at the top of the try scorers list. Just when Brisbane threatened to reduce Melbourne’s lead further, Cronk was held up valiantly by Josh Hoffman. Next set Ben Barba put Justin Hodges away but the Broncos wouldn’t finish with any reward as the trailed by six going into the break.
Brisbane had the best of the chances early in the second half including one where Alex Glenn failed to take a pass cleanly. Melbourne extended their lead with Hoffman’s second try for the evening, a result of a neat short pass from Cronk within striking distance of the line.
Glenn scored with nineteen minutes remaining to give the Broncos a glimmer of hope at 8-18. Justin Hodges’ kick ended up in Copley offloading to Glenn who eventually crossed.
Melbourne dominated the final fifteen minutes with Ryan Hoffman scoring under the posts after a wonderful offload by Jesse Bromwich. Cronk with twelve minutes to go sealed victory for the Storm when Kevin Proctor kept the ball alive with Sisa Waqa firing off the final pass to the halfback. A late Cameron Smith penalty helps Melbourne’s differential as they start their climb up the ladder with the goal to make the top four.
It was a record breaking night for Smith who became the highest point scoring forward in National Rugby League history. Cronk was excellent in attack along with Hoffman. They now just need Billy Slater to find some form and the Storm could be on their way to winning this year’s premiership.
For Brisbane it wasn’t their night, let down by execution and a poor game by Ben Hunt. They didn’t deal with the off-field distractions too well during the week which is odd considering the experience of Parker, Hodges and Thiaday. It could have been quite simply that Melbourne’s domination over Brisbane continues with the Broncos last victory over the Storm in 2010.