The Melbourne Storm have cemented a spot in the 2014 NRL Finals Series with a 22-12 victory over the Brisbane Broncos at AAMI Park in front of 20,032. Brisbane are now relying on other results to tip them into the mix for the Premiership.
The Broncos started strongly as they challenged the Storm's defence. However, it was a swing in possession that saw the Storm strike up a 12-0 lead mid-way through the first half.
New Zealand Warriors bound, Ryan Hoffman was a stand out performer for the Storm and his efforts rewarded early. Hoffman surged into a yawning gap via a Cooper Cronk bullet ball for first points. This followed up by Cronk as his solo kick-chase presented Melbourne's second four-pointer.
Ben Hunt was determined to chase down the lead in the latter part of the opening half as he reached over the white line to claim Brisbane's first points after 25 minutes. Jack Reed would come off with a dislocated shoulder at half time, but it was not before he finished off a Broncos left side raid. Brisbane closed the gap to 12-10 at the break.
Corey Parker took the penalty goal on offer at the 50th minute to lock the score at 12-all.
They call him ‘Mahe In Melbourne' as the Victorian born, Mahe Fonua shone in the second half, bagging a double in an 8 minute period. His first came in the 66th minute as he backed his way over the Broncos defence courtesy of a Cronk chip kick. Fonua's second try was created as he took an intercept pass from Ben Hunt and bolted 70 metres to score untouched.
The Storm proved too good in the end as their polish and execution overran the visiting Broncos. Brisbane now wait other results to determine if they can scrap into the top 8.
The only issue for the Match Review Committee out of this game is with Martin Kennedy as he was placed on report for a high tackle on Kevin Proctor in the 38th minute.