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Brisbane have walked away from Melbourne?s Olympic park with two points after outlasting the Storm and winning 26-22 in extra time.
The match was a very entertaining affair, with both sides scoring great tries and kicking some sharp goals. In the end, it was probably Matt Orford?s boot that cost the Storm the game when he missed two conversions he probably should have kicked and a field goal in the 82nd minute which would have secured the victory for the Storm. But you just can?t deny this Brisbane team who stick it out to the end and today their persistence paid off with a hard fought victory.
The Storm took and early 8-nil lead with tries to Slater and Bai. Slater?s was particularly eye-catching, making a fools of De Vere and Minto from a scrum when he clapped on the pace and left both defenders clasping at air.
But it wasn?t long before De Vere put them back in the game by backing up and scoring under the posts to make it 8-6. The Storm then hit back just before half time through Hoffman with Orford landing the goal and another penalty to take the lead to 16-6 before heading into the sheds.
In the second half we saw the Broncos really come back into the contest displaying the composure they were lacking in the first stanza and putting on tries to Tate and MacGuire to open up an 18-16 lead. The Storm hit back through an unusual try to Fifita Moala which saw the pigskin lost backwards and batted around like a beach ball before finding Moala who took everyone by surprise and darted over the line. At that point there was 19 minutes to go and the Storm were up by 4 points.
Stuart Kelly then booked himself a four-pointer in the 76th minute but the conversion from De Vere out wide was missed and we had a few minutes remaining which were played out at break-neck pace to no avail.
The opening exchanges of extra time saw Melbourne claw into Brisbane?s territory with some damaging runs. With everyone knowing what to expect, Melbourne positioned themselves for a field goal and Matt Orford pushed it wide. Whilst the lead-up work was great, Orford was standing very deep and appeared to rush the drop punt with the result costing the Storm the game.
From the ensuing set of six, Brisbane muscled up and could smell victory. Minto made a break and ran about 50 metres to score out wide despite attention from Slater and Bai, who had come from the other side of the field to jockey with the tall winger. And the finishing move from Minto left a few guessing, including myself, as to what he was doing. After beating Bai the Brisbane flanker jumped in the air about 2 metres from the line as Slater was coming across. It looked even funnier on replay, but laughter aside, Minto sealed the victory for the Broncos and snapped a 3-game losing streak brought on by the heavy representative workload.
Leagueunlimited.com Player of the Year Awards
3 ? B. Slater (Storm) 2 ? D. Lockyer (Broncos) 1 ? M. Geyer (Storm)
Sunday 20 July 2003 2:30 PM Olympic Park Melbourne Referee: S Clark Scorers: STORM Tries: Slater, Bai, Hoffman, Moala Goals: Orford 3/5 BRONCOS Tries: De Vere, Tate, MacGuire, Kelly, Minto Goals: De Vere 3/4
By the clock:
Storm kick-off and we're underway in the first half.
2 min: TRY - Storm. After a mistake from the Broncos, Billy Slater shows the ball from a scrum and beats Michael De Vere with ease, racing away to a 4-0 lead for the Storm.
3 min: Matt Orford misses the conversion. Scores remain Storm 4 Brisbane 0.
10 min: TRY - Storm. A brilliant Matt Geyer intercept takes the Storm deep into Broncos territory where they spread the ball wide for Marcus Bai to go over in the corner. Storm lead 8-0.
11 min: Orford misses another conversion and is having a rare bad day with the boot with a strong hook prevailing in both attempts. Scores unchanged at 8-0 in favour of the home side.
NEWS - Broncos enjoying the weight of possession, but failing to convert this into points. And Kirk Reynoldson has had his jersey ripped apart.
22 min: TRY - Broncos. Webke offloads beautifully for Tate to run 50 metres before passing to Berrigan who delivers a pretty obvious forward ball to De Vere who brings it under the posts. Storm lead 8-4.
23 min: De Vere converts without any problems. Scoreline is Storm 8 Brisbane 6. Referee Steven Clark is starting to blow a few penalties and Reynoldson has acquired a new shirt.
25 min: TRY - Storm. Hoffman goes in for the home side, stretching the lead back out to 12-6.
26 min: Orford amazingly converts his hardest attempt of the day from out wide. Storm lead the Broncos by 14-6.
40 min: Another huge bust by Geyer takes the Storm downfield and they receive a penalty on the stroke of half time for a player being held back. Orford pots the goal to make the scores 16-6 in favour of Melbourne at half time.
Storm playing very well, but both sides failing to capitalise on some opportunities. Bellamy would be happy with his team's performance, however Bennett would be pretty dark right now. Some stupid decisions have cost them tries, most notable down the right wing with Stuart Kelly. However, Webke is playing well and Ikin, Lockyer and Berrigan should be able to get them back into the swing of things. For Melbourne Geyer, Slater and Bai are all having good games.
Broncos restart play from the kick-off.
47 min: TRY - Broncos. Tate goes in out wide for the visitors following four repeat sets of six on the Storm's line. Melbourne still lead 16-10.
48 min: De Vere kicks a hard one from the sideline. Scores now Storm 16 Broncos 12.
56 min: TRY - Broncos. Casey MacGuire barges over from close range for Brisbane, who level the scores at 16 apiece.
57 min: De Vere helps the Broncos to the lead, with a successful conversion. Brisbane 18 Melbourne 16.
60 min: TRY - Storm. Moala scores after a break by Orford and some enterprising play from Geyer out wide sees Moala scoot over and Melbourne regain the lead. Storm 20 Broncos 18.
61 min: Orford converts to push the lead out by four. Storm 22 Broncos 18.
NEWS - Lockyer has left the field after an awkward tackle with what looks to be a serious knee injury. He did insist on walking off however, shunning the medi-cab much to the displeasure of the man driving the medi-cab, who had come from the other side of the field to pick him up.
76 min: TRY - Broncos. Stuart Kelly scores in the corner to tie up the game at 22 points all. Lockyer back on the field after running out the injury.
77 min: De Vere misses the goal and with 3 minutes remaining we could be heading for Golden Point. Score remains 22-all.
80 min: Scores locked at the end of regular time and we've gone into extra time. Broncos win the new toss and receive.
82 min: Orford misses an attempt at a field goal.
83 min: TRY - Broncos. Minto scores for the visitors and wraps up game. No conversion required. Broncos win 26-22 and Wayne Bennett shows an outpouring of emotion on the sidelines.