Time to look ahead to Sunday's decider! Rob Crosby has a full look at both teams and what to expect ...
24 hours ago
A resilient Brisbane Broncos side has staved off an error-prone attack from Melbourne in tonight's NRL clash, winning 16-14 in front of over 36,000 fans at Suncorp Stadium.
The game started worryingly for the home side as the visiting Melbourne outfit scored early through Billy Slater, the Queensland and Australian fullback slicing through some poor goal-line defence to post first points after less than two minutes. It was to be their last try for over an hour though, Brisbane hitting back ten minutes later through former Storm centre Israel Folau, scoring a four-pointer against his old club as Corey Parker's conversion levelled things at 6-all.
Brisbane then took the lead six minutes from the break when Steve Michaels completed a backline movement after a raft of possession in their favour. The four point lead was not extended to six as Parker missed his next attempted conversion. The gap then closed to two on the halftime siren as a messy play-the-ball from Darren Lockyer saw Cameron Smith attempt a successful long range penalty goal.
The Broncos opened the second half with a flurry and scored just three minutes after the resumption of play, Peter Wallace taking advantage of some confused defence and the referee ruling a drop ball had gone backwards in the previous play. The try was converted, putting Brisbane up by 8 points.
Melbourne carried the momentum for much of the remainder of the match, but could only turn pressure into points on one occasion, as the final 20 minutes of the game was littered with Storm errors, a number close to the line with the side in scoring position. A 66th minute try closed the gap back to two after Kevin Proctor picked up the scraps, but a number of attempts on the Brisbane line late in the game came up fruitless and Brisbane managed to reverse the painful memories of last years semi-final clash.
There is only one major concern out of the match, with Anthony Quinn on report for a raised elbow which connected with Sam Thaiday. Thaiday appeared to escape injury, however Quinn may have a case to answer. If cleared, he'll be available for Melbourne's Round 3 clash against the Cowboys in Townsville on Saturday. Brisbane will also back up next Saturday to face New Zealand in Auckland.
Match Details Brisbane Broncos 16 def Melbourne Storm 14 Round 2 - Friday, March 20th, 2009 7:35pm Venue: Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane Referee: Ben Cummins & Tony De Las Heras Touch Judges: Steve Chiddy & Adam Devcich Video Ref: Bill Harrigan Crowd: 36,647
LeagueUnlimited.com Live Commentary Suncorp Stadium the venue for the second weekend in a row on Friday night and this clash bigger than the last - it's the 2006 Grand Final re-match between Brisbane and Melbourne and both sides still have plenty of firepower both up front and out wide. A few team changes, the teams are:
BRONCOS: 1. Karmichael Hunt 2. Antonio Winterstein 3. Steve Michaels 21. Justin Hodges 4. Israel Folau 6. Darren Lockyer (c) 7. Peter Wallace 16. David Taylor 9. Aaron Gorrell 10. Joel Clinton 11. Sam Thaiday 12. Ben Te'o 13. Corey Parker Interchange: 5. Jharal Yow Yeh 14. Andrew McCullough 15. Lagi Setu 17. Alex Glenn
STORM: 1. Billy Slater 2. Steve Turner 3. Will Chambers 4. Willie Isa 5. Anthony Quinn 6. Greg Inglis 7. Cooper Cronk 8. Jeff Lima 9. Cameron Smith (c) 10. Adam Blair 17. Wairangi Koopu 12. Ryan Hoffman 13. Dallas Johnson Interchange: 11. Kevin Proctor 14. Ryan Hinchcliffe 15. Aiden Tolman 16. Scott Anderson
Toyota Cup went the way of Melbourne 48-14.
Teams not long to come out on the field, then a moment's silence for our recently fallen soldiers in Afghanistan throughout the week.
1 min: PENALTY Storm - Ben Te'o the catalyst for a spear tackle and Melbourne will now attack 30m out.
2 min: TRY Melbourne Storm Too easy, Billy Slater exposes some poor Brisbane defence close to the line and puts it down under the posts. Conversion attempt by Cameron Smith successful. Melbourne Storm 6-0
4 min: PENALTY Broncos - a reprieve for the home side after the early onslaught, poor defence so far by Brisbane and... KNOCK ON! Dave Taylor drops the ball on tackle two. Storm to re-gain possesion.
6 min: PENALTY Broncos - Inglis ruled offside from a Cronk kick, Broncos off the hook again.
7 min: Brisbane force a line drop-out off their first attacking set.
8 min: Brisbane with a scrum close to the Storm line after some good pressure. Can they turn the pressure into points?
11 min: TRY Brisbane Broncos The aerial route works wonders for Brisbane and Folau's got a four-pointer against his former club less than 15 minutes into the game, leaping above the pack to put the Broncos on the board. Conversion attempt by Corey Parker successful. 6 all
15 min: ON REPORT - Anthony Quinn (Storm). Controversy here as Anthony Quinn has a raised elbow in attack and it's knocked Sam Thaiday flat. He looks OK. After the fact Cameron Smith has told the referee "that's the way every prop in the NRL runs, you need to be consistent now". Regardless, Quinn's on report, and it's PENALTY Brisbane.
18 min: Israel Folau is down and Suncorp Stadium falls silent. He's taken a heavy knock to the ribs from Anthony Quinn... but he gets up, just a bit winded.
20 min: Tough call against Melbourne, Adam Blair spots two balls on the park and his attention briefly diverted - he throws a forward pass and is pulled up for it rather than the referee calling time off to remove the surplus ball. Brisbane then get a PENALTY as they work up field.
21 min: VIDEO REFEREE - Possible Broncos try. Folau's gone in the corner, he looks like he's got a double, but the first replay has shown he hasn't got inside the corner post. NO TRY.
25 min: PENALTY Storm - Melbourne starting to get some momentum back after losing their early head of steam.
29 min: Brisbane make in-roads into the Storm half again now as the game settles down. After looking vulnerable early, the home team have really made a good impact, despite the lack of points since the Folau try.
31 min: Blood bin for Cameron Smith after Melbourne manage to keep Brisbane out but the Broncos are still on the attack.
34 min: TRY Brisbane Broncos Numbers and pressure finally tell on the Storm defence and Steve Michaels helps Brisbane break the deadlock. Conversion attempt by Corey Parker unsuccessful. Brisbane Broncos 10-6
36 min: Billy Slater's pace almost gets Melbourne back on level terms but a try-saver from Karmichael Hunt sees the Broncos out of gaol... or not! Lockyer drops the ball on the second and the Storm will go right back on the attack!
38 min: Hodges almost manages an intercept but drops it and Melbourne will pressure the line again. Kevin Proctor then drops the ball and the Broncos are again off the hook, looking likely now to lead at oranges.
40 min: Darren Lockyer makes another mistake - an incorrect play-the-ball and it's a PENALTY to Melbourne. Smith elects to shoot for goal from more than 40m out.
HALFTIME: Brisbane Broncos 10 Melbourne Storm 8 A great half of footy, Melbourne dominating in stages but Brisbane the better team both on the scoreboard and across the park. Big crowd at Suncorp certainly getting their money's worth.
Teams back out on the park... surprisingly there's a good number of Storm supporters throughout the Suncorp crowd, they'll be hoping their team can get back in front and reproduce their semi final heroics from late 2008.
Second half kickoff: Back up and running now and Brisbane with first possession.
42 min: Brisbane with back-to-back sets early get the first attacking chance of the second half.
43 min: TRY Brisbane Broncos Aaron Gorrell's dropped it... and Peter Wallace scores! Storm players are protesting for a knock-on but the referee has already awarded it, declaring that Gorrell's fumble went backwards. A soft try in the end and Brisbane are now up by 8. Conversion attempt by Corey Parker successful. Brisbane Broncos 16-8
46 min: Melbourne have completed a good attacking set, trapping Darren Lockyer in-goal and forcing a line drop-out.
47 min: Willie Isa makes a mess of the play-the-ball with the Storm pressuring the Broncos' line and the home team are off the hook yet again.
50 min: Melbourne have had a bit more possession in the last 5 minutes or so and look a bit more threatening.
52 min: Brisbane put the ball in the air from about 30 metres out and it's gone out on the full.
56 min: VIDEO REFEREE - Possible Storm try. The ball's gone everywhere after a Cronk bomb. Decision pending, Inglis thinks he might have a four-pointer. NO TRY, Brisbane will earn possession and work it out of their own half.
59 min: Brisbane attack now but Slater's able to diffuse a last tackle bomb from Lockyer.
63 min: Kevin Proctor does it brilliantly, gets the Storm within 5 metres. He's played the ball and it's an INTERCEPT from Hodges! He's away! But no, a PENALTY to Melbourne. They'll attack now to reduce the deficit.
64 min: VIDEO REFEREE - Possible Storm try. Blair's knocked it backwards, and Proctor's landed on it, looks like a try to Melbourne...TRY!
66 min: TRY Melbourne Storm The try is awarded and after plenty of attack the Storm finally have the result they were after. It's not over, they need more points. Conversion attempt by Cameron Smith successful. Brisbane Broncos 16-14
70 min: The pro-Brisbane fanbase here has gone absolutely livid, Hodges has had assistance in lifting Inglis into touch and it's a PENALTY to Melbourne in good field position. This has been a cracking match, and with ten minutes left it can only get better!
71 min: A try goes begging for Melbourne, Chambers makes a meal of it and all the possession counts for nought as they turn the ball over to the home side.
74 min: PENALTY Brisbane - Wairangi Koopu has taken Steve Michaels high as the Melbourne players are trying to put the ball over the line. Some great defence from Brisbane but they have to keep holding Melbourne out here. They'll work up-field now.
76 min: Thaiday's dropped it! The Storm will now attack from halfway... they've found a burst of energy and look dangerous here... and Koopu's fumbled now off a great Cronk offload. Brisbane need to make good metres here and get a good kick away or Melbourne could run away with it.
78 min: Melbourne have 70 metres and two minutes to win this match.
79 min: Cam Smith has dropped it cold and that's surely the ball game with just over a minute to go.
80 min: 22 seconds for Melbourne to perform a miracle. Last roll of the dice. Cronk drops it, Brisbane dive on it, the siren's gone. It's fulltime!
FULLTIME: Brisbane Broncos 16 def Melbourne Storm 14 Brisbane have gotten home on the back of some great defence and really, Melbourne's lack of execution has cost them 2 competition points. The score is a reverse of the semi final played at the same venue last year, a victory that much sweeter for Brisbane, being on the winners side this time.