Shannon Meyer reviews a much better first half performance at Suncorp Stadium for the Broncos; but the result remains the same as Melbourne continue their super record in the Sunshine State as the Broncos vanished in the second half. Here’s how the game went.
|1st||Try Josh Addo-Carr (Melbourne)||Melbourne 4-0|
|2nd||Goal Cameron Smith (Melbourne)||Melbourne 6-0|
|12th||Try Herbie Farnworth (Brisbane)||Melbourne 6-4|
|13th||Goal Kotoni Staggs (Brisbane)||Scores tied 6-6|
|20th||Penalty Goal Kotoni Staggs (Brisbane)||Brisbane 8-6|
|29th||Penalty Goal Cameron Smith (Melbourne)||Scores tied 8-8|
|34th||Try Jahrome Hughes (Melbourne)||Melbourne 12-8|
|36th||Goal Cameron Smith (Melbourne)||Melbourne 14-8|
|44th||Try Kenny Bromwich (Melbourne)||Melbourne 18-8|
|53rd||Try Tino Fa’asuamaleaui (Melbourne)||Melbourne 22-8|
|55th||Goal Cameron Smith (Melbourne)||Melbourne 24-8|
|59th||Try Ryan Papenhuyzen (Melbourne)||Melbourne 28-8|
|60th||Goal Cameron Smith (Melbourne)||Melbourne 30-8|
|65th||Try Jahrome Hughes (Melbourne)||Melbourne 34-8|
|68th||Tevita Pangai Junior (Brisbane) – SIN BIN||Melbourne 34-8|
|69th||Try Josh Addo-Carr (Melbourne)||Melbourne 38-8|
|70th||Goal Cameron Smith (Melbourne)||Melbourne 40-8|
|74th||Try Tino Fa’asuamaleaui (Melbourne)||Melbourne 44-8|
|76th||Goal Cameron Smith (Melbourne)||Melbourne 46-8|
Like the Coronavirus outbreak, visitors from Melbourne was probably the last thing that the Broncos wanted after their horror show the previous weekend against the Wests Tigers; but Brisbane came ready to play against the Storm and were competitive throughout the night.
The wet conditions helped as the Storm made more errors than you would expect, and more than a normally grumpy enough Craig Bellamy would enjoy, but the Broncos helped themselves with a first half that was full of the effort that has been sorely missed since the competition restart.
It looked like one of those nights again for Brisbane as the Storm crossed in the first minute through Josh Addo-Carr. This was after giving a Set Restart away to the Storm in the first set of the match. The try came after a blindside grubber by Cameron Smith rebounded off a Broncos player into the path of Kenny Bromwich – who nutmegged new fullback Anthony Milford – and Addo-Carr was first to the ball.
Brisbane thought they had replied a few minutes later, when Herbie Farnworth finished off a left side movement, diving early because he thought he was going into touch. He was ultimately right as his foot grazed the line a few frames before the ball touched the in-goal.
Farnworth, who has been one of the Broncos’ best in the current period of mediocrity, was rewarded for perseverance not long after as a move that mirrored the first disallowed try in the same corner. The try came after the quick, sharp hands of Milford and Darius Boyd, a description that could hardly be used for either player in the last few months.
The try gave the Broncos the momentum for a while, this even being translated into points when the returning Kotoni Staggs added two points from a penalty in the 20th minute. Not quite as good as his sideline conversion before, but a 8-6 lead for the Broncos was a welcome sight for the home crowd.
Melbourne evened up the score 10 minutes later, getting a little lucky with a penalty after their fifth tackle play looked to break down. Cameron Smith made light work of the gift to tie it 8-8.
Just when the half looked like it would end in a deadlock, Jahrome Hughes had the ball and was dancing around going nowhere 20 metres from the Broncos line, and then all of a sudden he sparked into life, which caught the Broncos utility Jamil Hopoate off-guard. Once past the Broncos front-line defence he simply skipped to the line with ease to snatch back the lead just before half time.
The second half more of less started off the same as the end of the first, with Melbourne and Brisbane making errors in early sets.
The Broncos’ error was ultimately punished by the Storm as a loose pass was swooped on by Josh Addo-Carr, whose 70 metre run did not end in a try, but set up one a few plays later. Kenny Bromwich scored after a lovely pass from Cameron Munster found him breaking through the Brisbane line without too much attention to score. The missed conversion meant Melbourne led by just 10 points.
Melbourne were now getting well on top of the Broncos, who were starting to run out of steam just a little, and they took full advantage as big Tino Fa’asuamaleaui slid over near the posts, getting a big helping hand from the wet conditions in a move that would have ended in a double movement in the dry. This came after a great fifth tackle kick and chase from Melbourne pinned Milford just out from his own line.
A Croft cross-field kick not long after looked to have given the Broncos a very swift reply through Kotoni Staggs, but the ball was ruled by the Bunker to have been knocked on by the leaping Xavier Coates, going against the on-field decision of try.
As what usually happens to teams out of luck, Melbourne took full advantage not long after and they extended their lead further still with a try to fullback Papenhuysen. After making their way down to the Broncos’ end after the disallowed try, a run-of the-mill Munster run ended with a surprise offload, and Papenhuysen barged though to score.
Brisbane had some ball and territory not long after, and even earned a repeat set courtesy of a good kick from Tom Dearden; but they were unable to take advantage of their best period of the second half
No tries for Brisbane gave Melbourne a sniff, and sniff they did with a try of their own in the next set. As the Storm threw the ball to the right 40 metres out, Papenhuysen sliced through a large gap, ran 30 metres, fired the sweetest bullet-like pass inside to find Hughes who scored his second try of the night.
Cameron Smith delivered another example of his fine work in the set after the try, with a fine 40-20 kick from dummy half, which gave them more great territory and a full set of six against the tiring Broncos.
As if the Broncos weren’t struggling enough, firebrand Tevita Pangai kicked the ball away as Melbourne were trying to restart after the 40-20. For a player discussed as a million-dollar player not long ago, you could easily drop a zero or two on current form, although he was better tonight than he has been recently.
Of course the Storm punished them with the extra man the very next set, as Addo-Carr scored in the corner after the Broncos were stretched thin to Melbourne’s left, and he just needed to scoop up a hurried pass from Paul Momirovski to score untouched. It was 40-8 with just under 10 minutes to go against an increasingly disinterested Broncos side, with one fewer player than before.
Fifty points was on the horizon as Melbourne crossed again a few minutes later, with Cameron Smith providing the pass from dummy half and followed it up with the try assist for Fa’asuamaleaui who charged over on the right side for his second try of the night. The near sideline conversion saw Cameron Smith pass the milestone of 2,700 career points: a points total that it feels like the Broncos may concede this season.
It probably would have been 50 points had the Storm not bombed two reasonable chances thereafter. But avoiding 50 points makes no difference to either side. Melbourne Storm will enjoy another good win at Suncorp, and the Broncos look to another horror second half, and more questions that need answering.
The highlight of the game was just how good Melbourne can be when they are on song. Cameron Munster was excellent as per usual, as was the lively Ryan Papenhuyzen who injected excitement into the game with just about every touch. Big man Tino Fa’asuamaleaui and Jahrome Hughes were also great and rewarded with doubles. But the oldest man on the field Cameron Smith showed once again why he is one of the greats with a virtuoso performance, leading the Storm around like he has for hundreds of games before. The 40-20 typifies his contributions, the right thing at the right time executed superbly.
Broncos fans would have to be happy with their team’s first half performance. They stayed with the Storm throughout the first half, their new halves combination looked solid, and Anthony Milford looked as interested as ever. Brisbane fans may not be used to the poor results, but most reasonable fans will acknowledge as long as their team appears to be trying, then you can accept some down times. The Broncos’ first half saw the most heart from them since the restart. The second forty minutes, much less so.
We’ve had the good, now the bad. Where to go for the Broncos, and in particular Anthony Seibold? He was given until the end of the season (10 games) to turn around the Broncos’ fortunes after a board meeting this week, but they have to seriously reconsider that time frame given the second half performance. Should Seibold just hang around for the sake of it until the end of the season if the performances continue like the second half? Who knows how poisonous it could get if these types of losses continue? You get the feeling that Seibold is a coach you put up with if he’s winning, given his prickly, surly outward persona, and at the moment it is hard to see anyone missing him if he goes early. Despite the end-of-year assurances, the Broncos may regret it if a recently available Paul Green is snapped up by another club, or a clean-out of management could see the long-overdue Kevin Walters be given a go. He could hardly be worse.
1. Anthony Milford 2. Herbie Farnworth 3. Kotoni Staggs 4. Darius Boyd 5. Xavier Coates 6. Brodie Croft 7. Tom Dearden 8. Thomas Flegler 9. Cory Paix 10. Payne Haas 11. Joe Ofahengaue 12. Tevita Pangai Junior 13. Patrick Carrigan. Interchange: 14. Tyson Gamble 15. Rhys Kennedy 16. Jamil Hopoate 17. Ben Te’o.
1. Ryan Papenhuyzen 19. Suliasi Vunivalu 3. Brenko Lee 4. Justin Olam 5. Josh Addo-Carr 6. Cameron Munster 7. Jahrome Hughes 17. Nelson Asofa-Solomona 9. Cameron Smith 10. Christian Welch 11. Felise Kaufusi 12. Kenneath Bromwich 13. Dale Finucane. Interchange: 2. Paul Momirovski 8. Brandon Smith 15. Tino Fa’asuamaleaui 16. Albert Vete.