Storm fades as Broncos bolt

A dazzling second half comeback by Brisbane at Suncorp Stadium today has denied the Storm the chance to record its first win over the Broncos in three years.

Despite holding an eight-point lead at halftime, Melbourne fell away in the second half as the Broncos ran riot, piling on four tries to run away with the match 34-26.

Today?s loss is the Storm?s fourth consecutive defeat at the hands of the Broncos and leaves Melbourne with a 1-2 start to the 2004 Telstra Premiership.

After losing winger Steve Turner (knee) and Ben MacDougall (hamstring) to injury in the opening forty minutes, the Storm showed tremendous courage to dominate the first half.

But Melbourne reappeared after the halftime break a different side, lacking the intensity that enabled the visitors to amass an 18-10 lead at the main break.

After the match Storm coach Craig Bellamy struggled to come to terms with his side?s Jeckle and Hyde performance.

?I can?t remember such a contrast of feelings,? Bellamy lamented.

?I was so proud of them at halftime, we had a couple of outside backs injured and I thought the guys out there were great in the first half.

?In the second half we were dreadful. I couldn?t be more disappointed with that second half and I couldn?t be more proud of their first half.? At times last year Melbourne seemed to lack self-belief when coming up against the NRL?s top teams and based on today?s second half fade out, it appears the problem hasn?t totally been eradicated.

?After halftime I just thought the intensity that we played with for most of the first half was gone,? skipper Stephen Kearney said.

?We?ve had problems like that before against sides like the Broncos and the top sides and until we start believing that we can match it with them like we did in the first half, then we?ll still be getting the same results.

?That? s something we?ll be working on as individuals and together as a group.?

Bellamy was just as forthright when summing up Melbourne?s lackluster second stanza.

?In the second half we were just there waiting for them to come and get us, and they came and got us? Bellamy added.

?We were the better team in the first half so to come out in the second half and just wait for the Broncos to come and get us?it doesn?t belong in our club but it?s still there.?

The Storm suffered a major setback in the opening minute when Turner suffered a medial ligament injury to his left knee whilst being tackled by Broncos fullback Karmichael Hunt.

But Melbourne failed to let Turner?s injury upset its game plan and after just nine minutes replacement Ryan Hoffman crossed in the corner following some quick passing that saw the football move through four sets of hands, before finding the young centre unmarked.

Brisbane bounced back immediately though, as the Storm failed to gather Darren Lockyer?s restarting kick, handing the home side excellent field position.

The Broncos capitalised in much the same fashion as the Storm had scored just four minutes earlier, with Stuart Kelly finding the defence a man short out wide to touchdown near the corner post.

Ten minutes later Storm fullback Billy Slater did his Queensland State-of-Origin chances no harm when he scored after screaming onto a clever Robbie Kearns offload before stepping around Hunt, who was on the last line of defence for Brisbane.

Melbourne suffered its second injury blow when MacDougall was forced from the field after tearing his left hamstring in the 31st minute, but again, the Storm remained focused and through winger Matt King, extended its lead five minutes before halftime.

King?s second try of the year was the result of some skillful work by five-eighth Scott Hill, who gathered and passed a Matt Orford chip to David Kidwell, who in turn, put King over from close range.

The Broncos managed to narrow the gap on the stroke of halftime when Michael De Vere received the luckiest of bounces from a Lockyer kick ? the ball freakishly evading defenders Slater and King to land in the Brisbane winger?s hands for an easy try.

De Vere went on to score another try after halftime and along with touchdowns to Lockyer, Gorden Tallis and a second for Stuart, the Broncos outscored the visitors by four tries to two in the last term.

Consolation tries to Hill and King temporarily stemmed the flow for Melbourne, but the Storm?s fate had already been sealed.

MacDougall is expected to miss two weeks with his hamstring injury while Turner is expected to miss four weeks after injuring his medial ligament.

DETAILS STORM 26 Tries: Hoffman 1, Slater 1, King 2, Hill 1 Goals: Smith 3/5

BRONCOS 34 Tries: Kelly 2, De Vere 2, Lockyer 1, Tallis 1 Goals: De Vere 5/7

For further information contact

James Avery: Phone (03) 9421 3222 Mobile: 0411 623 024 [email protected]