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The Melbourne Storm have flexed their premiership muscle piling on 22 points in a dominant second half display to thrash the Broncos 42-12 in front of over 41,000 supporters at Suncorp Stadium tonight.
Outside backs, Suliasi Vunivalu, Josh Addo-Carr, and rookie centre Curtis Scott all had a field day, all three bagging doubles in the eight try romp to lift the 2016 runners up to four points clear at the top of the NRL Premiership ladder.
All the talk in the build up to tonight's match was the Queensland selection puzzle, with several stars looking to put their hand up for selection to replace injured stars Jonathan Thurston and Darius Boyd. Storm five-eighth Cameron Munster did his chances no harm at all, playing a superb hand in several of the Storm's eight tries and along with the form of their usual suspects in Smith, Cronk and Slater, was a constant threat for the Storm who simply blew the Broncos off the park in the second stanza.
While all eyes were on the form of Brisbane's Ben Hunt and Melbourne's Cameron Munster in particular, it was a Fijian that stole the headlines early, when one of the competition's most lethal tryscorer's Vunivalu scored the first try of the night who scored in the corner, thanks to some great lead up work from Slater and Scott, allowed the Storm's top tryscorer to touchdown with one of his now trademark dives to make it 4-0 after as many minutes.
Queensland lock Josh McGuire then found himself in Disneyland when he got his head in the wrong position trying to tackle Kiwi prop Jesse Bromwich. The Broncos number 13 was very dazed and nearly wrestled with trainer Allan Langer, not to come from the field.
A knock on from McGuire's replacement Sam Thaiday proved crucial minutes later, with Melbourne making the home side pay for some cheap field possession, when Will Chambers drew both Jonus Pearson and James Roberts in and produced a neat offload for the flying Josh Addo-Carr, who scored. Cameron Smith converted from the sideline and the Storm lead 10-0.
From the kickoff, Melbourne again charged up field, when Queensland Origin hopeful Cameron Munster sliced through and found second rower Tohu Harris, who was grassed by Broncos speedster James Roberts. Melbourne however immediately switched to the right and side and Curtis Scott scored in the corner to extend the lead to 14-0.
The Broncos desperately needed to respond and when they did get in their attacking zone they made it count, when halfback Ben Hunt took the line on and steamrolled over the top of Billy Slater to score the opening try for the home side in the 21st minute to narrow the scoreline to 14-6.
The Storm continued their dominance just before the break, when Cameron Munster bombed across the posts looking for some Storm jumpers and it was the flying Fijian Vunivalu who leaped highest to score his second try of the night and the Storm lead by 14 points at the break.
Five minutes into the second half, Brisbane looked certain to score when Ben Hunt grubbered for a flying James Roberts who was held back by Storm backrower Tohu Harris. Harris was subsequently sent to the Sin Bin for a professional foul.
The Broncos just managed to take advantage of the Storm down to 12 men, when David Mead dived over in the corner, after some great lead up work from Benji Marshall who sent Alex Glenn through a yawning gap.
From there though Melbourne clicked into gear, with Curtis Scott bagging his second try, after running off a superb Cooper Cronk pass close to the line. This was followed up by tries to Billy Slater and skipper Cameron Smith and within seven minutes the Storm lead 36-12 in a dynamite display to silence the home crowd.
An intercept try to Addo-Carr right on the siren, further rubbed the salt into the wounds and Melbourne ran out convincing winners 42-12.
Brisbane now has the bye to reflect on tonight's loss and will be hoping that their Origin stars get through Origin III unscathed.
Melbourne now face Parramatta at AAMI Park next Saturday without their key attacking players, but given the way some of their young guns coming through have performed so far in 2017, you wouldn't put a win past them.
Brisbane Broncos 12 - Melbourne Storm 42
Venue: Suncorp Stadium
Halftime Score: Brisbane Broncos 6 Melbourne Storm 20
LeagueUnlimited.com Players of the Match:
3 points - Cameron Munster
2 points - Cameron Smith
1 points - Curtis Scott
BRISBANE BRONCOS (12)
Tries: Ben Hunt, David Mead
Conversions: Jordan Kahu (2/2)
MELBOURNE STORM (42)
Tries: Suliasi Vunivalu (2), Cameron Smith, Josh Addo-Carr (2), Curtis Scott (2), Billy Slater
Conversions: Cameron Smith (5/8)