Our weekly feature - The Armchair Expert - returns just in time for the finals!
This week we look a...
12 hours ago
Melbourne have continued their fantastic home record against Brisbane with a crushing 48-4 win at the Graveyard tonight.
Nine tries to one meant Melbourne were always on the attack and always more enthused in soggy conditions against their Northern rivals who were without Darren Lockyer and Justin Hodges.
Craig Bellamy chose an unorthodox approach towards the match and named his usual starting forwards on the bench with Cooper Cronk leading the side out of the tunnel. The move proved a masterstroke with Cronk controlling the game brilliantly alongside Brett Finch in the early exchanges.
Greg Inglis backed up well from his brilliant performance in Wednesday's Origin opener with a breath-taking try in just the 8th minute. Joseph Tomane received a kick inside his own half and then offloaded to Billy Slater with Greg Inglis finishing an astonishing 70-metre move.
It took less than 10 minutes for Melbourne's next try after Brett White broke the line to set up attack inside Brisbane's 20. The Storm went wide and Joseph Tomane, who had a fantastic night, scored his first try.
Brisbane held up some fierce attacking raids but were eventually too tired to hold on. Cooper Cronk found some tired forwards and burst through for his first try. Joseph Tomane kicked his second conversion and Melbourne lead 16-0.
It was more of the same from Melbourne in the second quarter. Will Chambers grabbed a similar try on the same side of the field as Cronk to give Melbourne a massive 20 point advantage just before half-time.
Billy Slater showed some great acceleration from dummy-half to ensure Melbourne grabbed the first try of the second-half and it seemed a thrashing was inevitable.
Inglis then set up Tomane for his second try of the evening as Brisbane looked down the barrel of a 30 point deficit. Tomane missed the conversion from wide out, but the cheers from the crowd showed faith in another product of the Melbourne/Queensland relationship.
Tomane then grabbed his third try of the evening after streaking away from some tired Brisbane backs and added another conversion for a 36-0 lead.
Brisbane then showed some character and finally found their way through. Karmichael Hunt chipped over some back-peddling Melbourne defence and of all people, Israel Folau was on hand to finally open the scoring for Brisbane.
To finally prove it was not going to be Brisbane's night, Aiden Tolman dotted down for his first try in first-grade and Melbourne found themselves literally running away 48-4 winners.
Match Details Melbourne Storm 48 def Brisbane Broncos 4 Round 13 - Friday June 5th, 2009 07:35pm Venue: Olympic Park, Melbourne Referee: Ben Cummins & Gavin Badger Sideline Officials: Russell Turner & Gavin Reynolds Video Referee: Sean Hampstead Crowd: 15,318 Halftime: Storm 20 Broncos 0
Melbourne Storm 48 Tries: Greg Inglis, Joseph Tomane (3), Cooper Cronk (2), Will Chambers, Billy Slater, Aiden Tolman Goals: Joseph Tomane (6/9) Brisbane Broncos 4 Tries: Israel Folau Goals: Corey Parker (0/1)
LeagueUnlimited.com Live Commentary Welcome to Olympic Park in Melbourne for one of the two matches to open up round 13. It's Friday night football from the Graveyard. The Melbourne Storm are facing up against the Brisbane Broncos, who haven't won at Olympic Park since their 26-22 extra-time win in 2003. Can Melbourne's immense home record stop a Broncos rampage? We'll bring you all the action in just under 10 minutes.
Talk about the game as it happens - Storm v Broncos forum discussion - click here!
STORM: 1. Billy Slater 2. Steve Turner 3. Will Chambers 4. Greg Inglis 5. Joseph Tomane 6. Brett Finch 7. Cooper Cronk 8. Jeff Lima 14. Ryan Hinchcliffe 17. Brett White 15. Sika Manu 12. Ryan Hoffman 16. Aiden Tolman Interchange: 9. Cameron Smith (c) 10. Adam Blair 11. Matt Cross 13. Dallas Johnson BRONCOS: 1. Karmichael Hunt 2. Antonio Winterstein 3. Steve Michaels 5. Israel Folau 21. Jharal Yow Yeh 20. PJ Marsh 7. Peter Wallace 8. Nick Kenny 9. Andrew McCullough 18. Dave Taylor 15. Ashton Sims 12. Ben Te'o 13. Corey Parker (c) Interchange: 11. Sam Thaiday 14. Lagi Setu 15. Alex Glenn 19. Josh McGuire
Late changes see Lockyer drop out as well as Hodges. Melbourne have named a massive bench, with four usual starting forwards named.
Kick-off and we're away with Brisbane carrying first.
2 min: Cooper Cronk bombs on the Brisbane 20. Slippery ground but Winterstein answers the challenge and brings it down beautifully.
3 min: Brett Finch calls for it on the last and goes for a banana kick. Hunt slips over on the surface but the ball goes dead. Brisbane will have a tap on their 20.
5 min: Another kick here from the Storm towards the Brisbane in-goal. It's knocked on by Brisbane and off-side! Penalty here and Melbourne tap it but get absolutely hammered. Finch knocks it on. Great defense from Brisbane!
8 min: TRY Melbourne Storm Wallace kicks ahead. Tomane comes up with it and offloads to Slater! Away goes Billy! He's got Inglis on his right shoulder! Inglis goes in for the opening try! There's the Punch! Attack! Try! Great kick return! Conversion attempt by Joseph Tomane successful. Melbourne Storm 6-0
14 min: TRY Melbourne Storm Inglis passes to White on the halfway line. Oh wow! Big run here from White. Down into the Brisbane half. Melbourne will want this quickly. They go wide and Tomane pats it down in the corner! Conversion attempt by Joseph Tomane unsuccessful. Melbourne Storm 10-0
16 min: Cronk kicks on the last and Hunt takes it on the full. Brisbane work it up field. Wallace changes his stance and bombs it up but Tomane takes it easily.
18 min: Cronk kicks it dead after a massive kick. Brisbane tap on the 20. They work it up field and Sims comes up with a great run. They run it on the last and Parker kicks it dead.
20 min: Lots of high kicks early on as Finch bombs it again on the last. Hoffman comes down with it but it'll be a turnover.
21 min: Parker finds support in Michaels who steams on to it down the touchline! He's tackled and the ball goes into midfield. Lost forward and Inglis comes up with it.
22 min: Cronk kicks for Slater to chase but Hunt takes it easily. Great take from Hunt.
24 min: Smith goes for a few bursts and grubbers ahead towards Hunt. He's caught by Finch in-goal! Great kick from the Storm skipper. Drop-out for Brisbane here and more Melbourne possession.
25 min: Manu loses it and Brisbane will be able to relieve the pressure with a scrum on their 10.
27 min: Cronk straightens up the attack and gets tackled. Finch kicks high again but it's easily taken by Folau.
28 min: TRY Melbourne Storm Brisbane turn it over on the last on their 30. Melbourne look to attack quickly and make good ground. Smith passes quickly to Cronk who backs himself! Barges over! Scores! Conversion attempt by Joseph Tomane successful. Melbourne Storm 16-0
30 min: Whoah! Inglis makes a meal of the kick-off! He taps it back inside as it is about to roll out and Finch passes it on.
31 min: Penalty goes to Melbourne after Inglis is tackled over the horizontal.
32 min: TRY Melbourne Storm Lagi Setu! Wow! Sika Manu gets absolutely smashed! Like being charged by a rhino! Flying through. Back to the footy, here we go! On it goes and Chambers has bashed his way over! Conversion attempt by Joseph Tomane unsuccessful. Melbourne Storm 20-0
35 min: Brisbane take it up on their 30. Great run from McGuire and he gets rewarded with a penalty. Brisbane will have the ball on attack 20 metres out from the Melbourne line.
36 min: Brisbane try to keep it alive. Te'o offloads to McCullough. Hunt takes it on the last and grubbers it dead. Melbourne tap on the 20.
37 min: Here go Melbourne again! It's that man Inglis! He finds space and gets tackled, slides towards touch and offloads brilliantly to Tomane. He's tackled. Kicked high and Brisbane come down with it. Penalty to Brisbane to work up the field.
39 min: Brisbane look dangerous here! Kick through from Wallace and it's batted dead by Turner. Brisbane will get the ball once more before half-time.
40 min: Brisbane run it back and lose it. That'll be half-time and a big hill for Brisbane to climb to get back into this one.
Half-time in Melbourne. It's been all the Storm in this one, they've had all the ball and nearly all the territory. Brisbane have been without Lockyer and Hodges which has taken its toll on their organising both defensively and in attack. Greg Inglis is having a field day and has been given alot of space to run. It'll be hard for Brisbane to get back into this one but not impossible. Stay with us for all the second-half action in a few minutes.
Second-half about to get underway. Melbourne won their Toyota Cup match 28-26.
41 min: The high kick-off is taken by Ryan Hoffman. The Storm will start off in great field position. Cronk kicks down to Winterstein who slips over in the tackle of Johnson. Folau runs out of dummy-half and he loses it. The Storm will have a scrum on the 30.
43 min: TRY Melbourne Storm Slater flies in from dummy-half! Whoosh! Te-o slipped over there and Billy took full advantage. Conversion attempt by Joseph Tomane successful. Melbourne Storm 26-0
46 min: Great run here from Brisbane! Right to left. They go wide to Michaels and he's tackled on the 20. Wallace goes high to set up Folau but Inglis comes down with it.
48 min: Tomane weaves through some tackles and gets out to his 20. Manu is stopped and offloads to Turner who flies onto it. He's caught though. Smith kicks and it's recovered by Brisbane.
49 min: Poor kick from Wallace finds Slater and he runs it up to just short of halfway. The Storm keep the movement going! Here's Matt Cross! Down into the 20.
51 min: TRY Melbourne Storm Melbourne work it out from the right to the left. It's with Inglis! He offloads slickly to Tomane and he runs straight through on the blindside! He'll be enjoying this the 19 year old! Conversion attempt by Joseph Tomane unsuccessful. Melbourne Storm 30-0
54 min: Brisbane work it to their 40 and then Thaiday carries it over the halfway line. 35 metres out with Wallace and he kicks it dead.
55 min: White loses it 40 metres out and gets some pats on the back. Brisbane scrum on the 40.
57 min: Hunt finds Te'o who tries to crash through the Storm defence. It's a turnover. Poor option from Brisbane.
59 min: Wallace kicks for himself! He's through and has another bite at it but falls over! Slater slides with it to watch it go dead.
60 min: TRY Melbourne Storm The Storm back their running game on the last! Cronk decides to find Inglis! He finds Tomane on the outside! Brisbane won't catch him! Tomane is in again for his third! Conversion attempt by Joseph Tomane successful. Melbourne Storm 36-0
63 min: Ryan Hoffman looks to offload on the halfway line but loses it. Brisbane will have the scrum and badly need points.
64 min: Wallace chips ahead. Great kick this time as Turner knocks it dead. Brisbane will have possession again.
65 min: Brisbane try to spread it but it goes out off Tomane. Brisbane will have a scrum on the 30. Greg Inglis gets a breather.
66 min: Brisbane get the ball wide with Melbourne on their heels! Hunt kicks ahead! Folau ends up with the ball and dots it down! But has it gone forward off Yow Yeh? We'll go upstairs.
69 min: Wallace kicks but it's a little too deep. It's caught by Johnson who passes onto Slater. He slips over just short of halfway.
70 min: Melbourne hot on the attack here. Cronk loses it and Brisbane will get the ball back on their 20. Billy Slater goes to the bench with Cameron Smith, Greg Inglis and Adam Blair sitting down in their training jackets. It's very cold.
71 min: Cronk kicks again to the in-goal and Michaels gets slammed down by Cross. Melbourne will have yet another bite. Glenn gets assisted off after copping a knock to the head.
72 min: TRY Melbourne Storm Cronk gets it less than 5 metres out and dummies from dummy-half! He's in for his second! Conversion attempt by Joseph Tomane successful. Melbourne Storm 42-4
75 min: Melbourne get the kick-off and Lima storms forward and gets smashed by Taylor! Another big hit! Wallace gets penalised for holding the man down. They'll go right into the attacking zone, 15 metres out.
76 min: Manu tries to wrestle his way through but he's pulled down 5 metres out. Tolman tries to wrestle his way around! He looks happy but has he got it down for his first first-grade try? We'll go upstairs to see if it's touched the white line.
77 min: TRY Melbourne Storm Try awarded! Conversion attempt by Joseph Tomane successful. Melbourne Storm 48-4
78 min: Hinchcliffe goes for a burst and races away! He's got Tolman in support for his second! He's not fast enough though. Finch kicks it through and Folau comes up with it.
79 min: Brisbane run it from the halfway line and Wallace finds space! He has plenty of room and tries to find Winterstein but it's gone forward! Scrum to Melbourne on their 10.
80 min: Brisbane run it back at Melbourne and kick it ahead. Corey Parker is assisted from the field. It's caught by Turner who runs it back as the full-time siren goes.
Full-time here in Melbourne with the home team running out with a massive 48-4 win, Brisbane's biggest loss of the year. Brisbane were without their stars but Melbourne were relentless in the cold, wet conditions. Thanks for joining us and stay tuned for more Round 13 action on www.leagueunlimited.com. Enjoy the rest of your weekend and it's goodbye for now.