A week out from the #NRL season kickoff, we look at the fantastic potential possessed across the Tas...
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Grand Final 2006
Melbourne Storm 8 v Brisbane Broncos 15
at Telstra Stadium
Referee: Paul Simpkins
The Brisbane Broncos have defeated the Melbourne Storm 15-8 at Telstra Stadium this evening to win the 2006 NRL Telstra Premiership.
Both teams scored trwo tries but it was the class of Lockyer, the running of Berrigan and the guts of Webcke that willed the Broncos to their sixth premiership from six attempts. To put it simply, Melbourne had no answer for the power of the Broncos forward pack.
Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy, student under Wayne Bennett will be feeling mixed emotions but he will take the lessons from tonight and build a better football team in the coming years.
Melbourne's cause was hampered by a knee injury to captain Cameron Smith who left the field midway through the second half and in his absence, Scott Hill and Cooper Cronk failed to come up with the answers to guide the Storm to their second premiership.
Melbourne started the stronger side but as both sides settled into the game it was the Broncos who started to gain the upper hand, dominating the play the ball and making easy metres in every set of six. Justin Hodges and Shaun Berrigan proved very hard to stop with Shaun Berrigan taking out the prestigious Clive Churchill medal as the best player in the grand final.
Brisbane went to the break leading 8-4 but it was only a try a piece and Melbourne were still very much in the match but Brisbane's big match experience and the guile of Wayne Bennett ensured the Broncos grand final record was never under threat.
As the game wore on Melbourne struggled to contain the Broncos and when Brent Tate scored in the 62nd minute, he sealed Melbourne's fate and there was no miracle comeback from the Storm, who will be better for the experience.
Melbourne Storm: 8
Tries: Matt King, Steve Turner
Goals: Cameron Smith 0/1, Matt Geyer 0/1
Brisbane Broncos: 15
Tries: Justin Hodges, Brent Tate
Goals: Darren Lockyer 2/2, Corey Parker 1/2
Field Goals: Darren Lockyer
By the Clock:
0 min: NEWS Welcome to the NRL Grand Final between the Melbourne Storm and Brisbane Broncos. The Broncos are about to take the field in front of a great crowd at Telstra Stadium. All cameras on Shane Webcke in his final game of Rugby League and the question is will he live the fairytale ending or will the Melbourne Storm deny him? All this awaits us in the next eighty minutes and I can't split either side but I am leaning towards the Broncos based on the big match experience of their stars.
0 min: NEWS We are about to hear the national anthem from Jade McRae.
1 min: NEWS Away we go! We are underway in the 2006 grand final and the crowd roars as the Broncos kick off to the Melbourne Storm.
2 min: NEWS Melbourne complete their first set of six mid some tremendous defence but now the Broncos have the ball and Melbourne are responding in kind.
5 min: NEWS Melbourne awarded the first penalty for a flop from Brad Thorn. Melbourne looking very good early on.
6 min: NEWS Darius Boyd caught in goal by Matt King so the Broncos will not have to give the ball back to the Storm via a goal line drop out.
7 min: NEWS Matt King loses the ball ten metres out from the Broncos line and the pressure is off the Broncos for the moment.
8 min: NEWS Penalty to Brisbane so we are now level with penalties and now the Broncos get a chance to see what the Storm defence is made of.
9 min: NEWS Penalty to Brisbane two metres out from the Storm line. Brisbane will take the two points to settle the nerves.
9 min: PENALTY GOAL Brisbane Broncos
Brisbane take a two point lead through Darren Lockyer. A very even contest so far.
12 min: NEWS Cooper Cronk from Melbourne kicks a 40/20 to put the Storm on the attack 18 metres out from the Broncos line.
14 min: TRY Melbourne Storm
Steve Turner scores for the Storm after Scott Hill evaded the Broncos defence to pass around the corner to an unmarked Turner who scores in the corner to give the Storm the lead. Conversion unsuccessful.
18 min: NEWS Steve Turner knocks on a Darren Lockyer bomb to give the Broncos a chance to score their first try.
19 min: TRY Brisbane Broncos
Brisbane hit back through an inside ball to Justin Hodges and he scores adjacent to the sticks to give the Broncos a four point lead midway through the first half.
21 min: NEWS Webcke knocks on on the second tackle inside his own 30 to give the Storm a chance to hit right back.
23 min: NEWS Brisbane hold fast in defence to stifle the Storm and relieve the pressure.
24 min: NEWS Brisbane have another line drop out to contend with but they have defended superbly off their own goal line.
26 min: NEWS Matt Geyer knocks on from dummy half ten metres out from the Broncos line. Melbourne starting to look a little frustrated by the Broncos defence.
28 min: NEWS Inglis forced into touch just metres from the Broncos line. Brisbane's defence on their tryline has been magnificent.
31 min: NEWS Hodges knocks on and Brisbane are starting to make some metres through the middle of the field.
34 min: NEWS Brisbane starting to pick up the pace in attack and defence with Justin Hodges proving to be a difficult customer for the Storm to handle.
37 min: NEWS Brisbane get a penalty and are now only 20 metres from the Storm line and this could be crucial for the Storm's title hopes.
38 min: NEWS Tate knocks on and Melbourne breathe a sigh of relief but they are struggling at the moment.
39 min: NEWS Justin Hodges make a superb run from his own ingoal back out to his twenty metre line, leaving all the Storms defenders in his wake.
40 min: NEWS Broncos lead the Storm 8-4 at half time and the Broncos finished the half far stronger than the Storm but we still have forty minutes remaining and the last time these two sides met, Brisbane led 10-0 and eventually lost so both teams know this is far from over and it could come down to the individual brilliance of a Lockyer or Inglis to decide the 2006 NRL Telstra Premiership.
41 min: NEWS We are underway in the second half and one team is forty minutes away from glory.
41 min: NEWS Very good opening set in attack from the Brisbane Broncos.
44 min: NEWS Paul Simpkins blows time off with Broncos lock Tonie Carroll down with what looks to be a knee injury.
45 min: NEWS Melbourne throw the ball away and are looking a little flustered at the moment. Brisbane making a lot of easy metres at the moment
46 min: NEWS Melbourne make half a break but Daivd Kidwell does a good impersonation of John Elway and throws the ball a mile forward.
48 min: NEWS Greg Inglis makes a great fifty metre break to give the Storm great field position with plenty of tackles up their sleeve.
49 min: NEWS Paul Simpkins blows time off after a heated exchange between the Storm and the Broncos. Penalty to Melbourne right on the Brisbane line.
50 min: TRY Melbourne Storm
Matt King scores to give the Storm a chance to take the lead but Matt Geyer misses a relatively easy conversion. We are all locked up at 8 all.
53 min: NEWS Penalty to Melbourne and now the Storm have a great chance to inflict some more pain on the Broncos.
55 min: NEWS Under pressure the Broncos come up with a great set of six to release the pressure valve.
56 min: NEWS Justin Hodges knocks on playing the ball. Could be a crucial play in a tight game.
58 min: NEWS Karmichael Hunt comes up with the ball on his own line after contesting it with Greg Inglis.
60 min: PENALTY GOAL Brisbane Broncos
Brisbane edge ahead by two after Billy Slater was penalised for a high shot on Shaun Berrigan but the Broncos should have been penalised for an obstruction.
62 min: TRY Brisbane Broncos
Brisbane score in the corner after the Broncos played some great ad-lib footy and it caught the Storm on the backfoot out wide and they never recovered. A crucial kick for goal that could extend the Broncos lead beyond a converted try. Conversion unsuccessful.
65 min: NEWS Melbourne fumble just outside their 20 metre line. Knockout punch could be on the way...
66 min: NEWS Brisbane fumble and Melbourne are trying hard to get back into the match.
67 min: NEWS Video ref asked to rule on a possible try to Matt King after Cronk put the ball high and Justin Hodges looked to have fumbled the ball and it then went back to Matt King who crashes over but tuled no try by the video referee.
68 min: NEWS Brisbane looking tired but Melbourne squander an attacking opportunity once again with Billy Slater throwing a silly pass that went into touch even though the replay suggests Justin Hodges touched the ball.
70 min: NEWS Brisbane hold on with Melbourne almost scoring near the posts.
70 min: NEWS Cameron Smith leaves the field with a knee injury.
72 min: FIELD GOAL Brisbane Broncos
Brisbane move out to a seven point lead through a long range field goal to Darren Lockyer. Too hard for Melbourne to come back from here.
75 min: NEWS Melbourne looking lost without Cameron Smith and it's a forlorn hope for the Storm now.
77 min: NEWS Greg Inglis knocks on fifteen out from their own line and Brisbane can rub salt into the Storms wound with another try.
78 min: NEWS Brisbane have Melbourne pinned on their own line and they have smothered the Storm in the second half.
80 min: NEWS Brisbane defeat the Melbourne Storm 15-8 and the Broncos were deserved victors, totally outplaying their inexperienced opponents in every aspect.
Leagueunlimited.com players of the match:
3 - Shaun Berrigan (Broncos)
2 - Shane Webcke (Broncos)
1 - Darren Lockyer (Broncos)