The NSW Blues have been named for the first game of the 2017 #Origin series.
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Melbourne Storm 10 v Brisbane Broncos 4
at Olympic Park, Melbourne
Referees: Sean Hampstead
The Melbourne Storm have clung on to a six point lead to claim an enjoyable 10-4 win over the Brisbane Broncos in front of 15,479 fans at Olympic Park in Melbourne. The Storm led 6-0 at half time.
Cameron Smith opened the scoring in the eighth minute with his only goal of the night following a penalty for a supposed high tackle. At this time the Storm had to make an early and unexpected change with Antonio Kaufusi having to leave the field with a leg injury. He would make a return shortly afterwards however. Only three minutes after Kaufusi was forced off the field the news got worse for the Storm when Scott Hill was forced to leave the field with a sternum injury. Hill was surprisingly pronounced able to return to the field after half time, but he wasn?t needed as the halves pairing of Cameron Smith and Cooper Cronk were gelling particularly well. After 15 minutes Cameron Smith missed a tough penalty goal and the score remained 2-0. The game went from end to end with both teams having strong attacking opportunities, but it was a Broncos error that led to the first try after 28 minutes. Tonie Carroll knocked on and the ball ended up in Slaters hands. He set off and got around several defenders before the cover defence looked to have him wrapped up before he flicked a pass behind his back ? Benji Marshall style ? to a flying Steve Turner who raced away to score in the corner. The try was unconverted, and the Storm were up 6-0. Cooper Cronk almost made the Storm lead seven points, but he hit the crossbar with his field goal attempt on halftime.
The second half was far sloppier than the first half. The Storm scored a decisive try 17 minutes into the half when Ryan Hoffman got the ball down out wide for a 10-0 lead. After this the Storm were almost constantly under pressure as they dropped the ball coming out of their own end plenty of times, as well as having fullback Billy Slater put under pressure. Brisbane winger Brent Tate was denied a try by the video referee after an hour, when he was knocked into touch before getting to the try line. The Broncos did score with seven minutes to go when Greg Eastwood benefited from some rare enterprising offloads from the Broncos. However the Broncos attack was largely nullified by the impressive Storm defence and the Storm comfortably held out late, desperate attack from the Broncos.
The Storm go six points clear at the top of the ladder, at least temporarily. Next week they travel to EnergyAustralia Stadium to face the Knights, while the Broncos are assured of two points from the bye.
Melbourne Storm: 10
Tries: Ryan Hoffman, Steve Turner
Goals: Cameron Smith 1/4
Brisbane Broncos: 4
Tries: Greg Eastwood
Half time: 6-0 Storm
By the Clock:
Good evening from Olympic Park Stadium in Melbourne. Tonights is a much anticipated top of the table clash between the Melbourne Storm and the Brisbane Broncos. The Storm cannot be knocked off the top tonight, but the Broncos can move to within two points of them. Very impressive looking crowd in tonight. It's raining.
1 min: The Broncos kick off!
7 min: The Broncos are penalised for a high shot, and Matt King is warned for running in for a little push and shove. Penalty goal attempt to come...
8 min: PENALTY GOAL Melbourne Storm
Cameron Smith lands the goal for the Broncos high tackle.
8 min: INJURY - Antonio Kaufusi off with a knee injury.
11 min: INJURY - Scott Hill in injured in backplay.
11 min: The Broncos first attacking chance ends with a Tate grubber going dead. The Storm already down to 15.
15 min: ATTEMPTED PENALTY GOAL Melbourne Storm
Webcke is penalised for interfering with the play the ball. Smith hooks the rather difficult shot.
20 min: The Broncos lose the ball, but they are saved after a poor Slater kick on tackle two.
22 min: Storm put up a bomb, it comes down to Boyd who makes a 50 metre run before he is dragged down by Slater. The Broncos pick up a penalty a few plays later.
23 min: The Broncos pick up a line drop out after Geyer just manages to knock a kick dead.
24 min: The Broncos go very close, and on the next play Hoffman comes up with a fingertip intercept.
26 min: Kaufusi is back on for the Storm.
28 min: TRY Melbourne Storm
A classic Storm try. The Broncos knock on at one end of the field. Slater picks it up and sets off, as the cover comes across to get him, he throws a Benji pass to Steve Turner who races away and scores in the corner. Smith misses the conversion.
34 min: UPDATE - Scott Hill has had a painkiller, he's got a sternum injury, and may be back tonight. Highly unlikely though. He's doing pushups in the sheds though.
36 min: Melbourne make a mistake 20 out from their own line. Sustained Broncos pressure.
40 min: Minto takes a bomb and then runs over the sideline, the Storm get a scrum 15 out with 40 seconds to go. The Storm pick up a drop out with 20 seconds to go.
40 min: ATTEMPTED FIELD GOAL Melbourne Storm
Cronk attempts a field goal, and he hits the crossbar.
We go to halftime with the Storm up 6-0. The Storm have won 11 out of 11 this year when leading at halftime.
Completions: Storm 21/24 Broncos 16/22
Tackles/Missed: Storm 189/22, Broncos 182/16
Offloads: Broncos 4-3
Errors: Broncos 6-3
41 min: The second half is underway!
43 min: UPDATE - Scott Hill will be right to return to the field for the second half.
50 min: Both sides making a few errors at the moment.
51 min: INJURY - Lacey coming from the field, looking very groggy.
54 min: The Broncos hold out a stong Storm attack.
55 min: Seymour puts a kick out on the full.
56 min: A Slater kick on the third tackle nets a line drop out.
57 min: TRY Melbourne Storm
The Storm send the ball wide on the last, and find Hoffman who scores out wide. Smith misses the conversion.
61 min: Slater knocks a bomb on 10 out from the Storm line.
61 min: Video ref for an unlikely Broncos try...
61 min: NO TRY - Broncos
Tate nearly goes in in the corner, but Slater hits him and knocks him onto the sideline just short of the try line.
62 min: Brisbane run across the sideline early in the tackle count.
65 min: Geyer comes down claiming a try, but the Storm are ruled to have knocked on.
67 min: Slater knocks a Broncos attacking kick into touch.
68 min: The Storm shut the Broncos down on the last tackle.
70 min: Again the Storm hold the Broncos out on the last tackle. The Storm are making a lot of errors coming out of thier own end.
71 min: Storm defending very well, although they are putting themselves under pressure.
73 min: TRY Brisbane Broncos
Webcke breaks through, he offloads to Berrigan who offloads to Lockyer who throws a great pass out to Eastwood who scores in the corner. Parker misses.
75 min: CROWD - 15,479
78 min: Thaiday can't hold onto the ball on the last tackle bare metres out.
79 min: The Storm clean up a Seymour chip kick.
80 min: The Broncos get one play to spin the ball wide, but they knock the ball on.
Leagueunlimited.com players of the match:
3 - Cameron Smith (Storm)
2 - Billy Slater (Storm)
1 - Ryan Hoffman (Storm)