The Melbourne Storm have continued to quietly push toward the finals with a solid but unspectacular 30-8 victory over a shaky Brisbane side at Suncorp Stadium tonight.
More than 36,000 fans packed into Brisbane's premier sporting venue with plenty of hope amongst the home fans following a win over the Warriors last Saturday, but it was the Storm who got off to the best start with Marika Koroibete opening the scoring off a clever Cronk kick that caught Lachlan Maranta out in the fifth minute. Cameron Smith added the extras and only superb defence from Brisbane prevented further points for the following ten minutes, with the Storm enjoying an avalanche of possession.
This continued until the 15th minute when a controversial Ryan Hoffman try pushed the Storm further ahead. It appeared Billy Slater had taken a contender for the ball away from the contest and a penalty should've ensued but that was seemingly ignored and Hoffman awarded the four-pointer. Smith added two more to take the margin to twelve.
The momentum shifted leading up to the half hour mark and this allowed the Broncos to finally grab some field position - with Dale Copley finally scoring the first try for the home side. Parker's failure to convert meant an eight-point margin and this was how it would stay til halftime.
Both sides locked themselves in a fierce end-to-end battle to open the second half before Storm enforcer Ryan Hoffman bagged his second in the 50th minute. Smith's conversion boosted the visitors' advantage to fourteen before the Broncos struck back via Alex Glenn and a great team try in the 61st.
Sadly for the Broncos that ten point margin was as close as they got - series of errors and poor discipline saw the Melbourne side surge ahead with tries in the final fifteen minutes to Ryan Hinchcliffe and enigmatic halfback Cooper Cronk. Cameron Smith slotted a penalty goal on fulltime to seal a 22-point victory.
Next weekend the Broncos will head to Brookvale to visit a high-flying Manly team wearing a golden Wolverine strip, while the Storm are off to Campbelltown on Monday night in Round 21 to face the Wests Tigers.