Solid effort sees Storm home against Broncos

An almost clinical performance from the league leaders has seen Melbourne get home 26-6 tonight over rivals the Brisbane Broncos at AAMI Park. 22,912 fans turned out for the top-four clash with the Storm putting in a convincing second half to get the chocolates.

The game was played at a frenetic pace in the first half, with Melbourne opening the scoring through Maurice Blair just 6 minutes into proceedings. The next points, however, wouldn't come until just before halftime, with a controversial try to Broncos and Queensland winger Jharal Yow Yeh and subsequent conversion from Corey Parker levelling scores up at 6-all heading into halftime.

The deadlock was broken after the break by a Cameron Smith penalty goal - Smith would go on to kick all 5 of his goal attempts successfully - and from 8-6 up, the Storm took the ascendency. Tries in the second half came regularly, including a freak effort from Justin O'Neill, a brilliant solo try from halfback Cooper Cronk and a superb try on fulltime completing a double for Maurice Blair.

The Storm's dominance however, is likely to be overshadowed in the post-match mire, with Darren Lockyer leaving the field for Brisbane after 72 minutes, complaining of a hamstring injury. More will be known over the weekend, however as with previous seasons, any medium or long term injury to "Locky" will no doubt have a huge effect on the Broncos' premiership aspirations.

The Broncos head home to host Cronulla next Friday night at Suncorp Stadium, while the Storm have a ten day layoff before facing 2009 Grand Final opponents the Parramatta Eels in Sydney.

Match Details
Melbourne Storm 26 defeated Brisbane Broncos 6
National Rugby League - Round 20 - Friday July 22, 2011 7:30pm
Venue: AAMI Park
Referee: Tony Archer and Ashley Klein
Video Referee: Paul Simpkins
Touch Judges: Paul Holland and Luke Potter
Crowd: 22,912
Halftime: Melbourne Storm 6 Brisbane Broncos 6

Leagueunlimited.com players of the match:
3 Points - Cameron Smith (4 Conversions, 1 Penalty Goal)
2 Points - Cooper Cronk (1 Try)
1 Point - Maurice Blair (2 Tries)

Melbourne Storm (26)
Tries: Cooper Cronk, Maurice Blair (2), Justin O'Neill
Conversions: Cameron Smith (4/4)
Penalty Goals: Cameron Smith (1/1)

Brisbane Broncos (6)
Tries: Jharal Yow Yeh
Conversions: Corey Parker (1/1)

LeagueUnlimited.com Live Commentary We're underway at AAMI Park.
5 min: TRY
TRY Melbourne Storm
Scored by Maurice Blair. Conversion attempt by Cameron Smith successful.
Maurice Blair runs off a Cooper Cronk ball close to the line and the Storm have opened their account early here. Smith converts.
Melbourne Storm 6-0
37 min: TRY
TRY Brisbane Broncos
Scored by Jharal Yow Yeh. Conversion attempt by Cooper Cronk successful.
Well, this is interesting. Yow Yeh is given a try (benefit of the doubt) - but many would suggest there was no doubt. Yow Yeh benefits of a fumbled bomb by Slater. Parker converts to level us up before the break.
6 all
47 min: PENALTY GOAL
PENALTY GOAL Melbourne Storm
Penalty goal attempt by Cameron Smith successful.
Back to back penalties and the Storm seize the opportunity to take the lead, which Smith makes no mistake of. Thaiday and previously Parker culprits for Brisbane.
Melbourne Storm 8-6
57 min: TRY
TRY Melbourne Storm
Scored by Justin O'Neill. Conversion attempt by Cameron Smith successful.
Good slide to the left for the Storm and WOW! O'Neill does amazingly well to get it down in the corner. Smith, ever perfect, slots the conversion from the sideline.
Melbourne Storm 14-6
69 min: TRY
TRY Melbourne Storm
Scored by Cooper Cronk. Conversion attempt by Cameron Smith successful.
Beautiful little "show-n-go" near the line from Cooper Cronk, and not even Peter Wallace can contend with him there. Smith converts easily and this is suddenly looking like no contest.
Melbourne Storm 20-6
80 min: TRY
TRY Melbourne Storm
Scored by Maurice Blair. Conversion attempt by Cameron Smith successful.
Maurice Blair is in out wide. Cam Smith makes it a perfect five from five for a 26-6 final scoreline.
Melbourne Storm 26-6
FULLTIME here at AAMI Park and Melbourne have been convincing tonight - dominating at key moments to drive home a solid victory against quality opposition. They'll be hard to stop for the minor premiership from here.

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