The Melbourne Storm have handed the North Queensland Cowboys a 42-18 belting in front of a 20,206 crowd at Dairy Farmers Stadium.
A masterful second half performance from the Melbourne Storm, spear headed by Billy Slater, Cooper Cronk and Cameron Smith saw the visitors run away with the game following the break.
Not much seperated the teams in the first 40, the Storm got off to a shocking start with Todd Lowrie knocking on in the vistors' first set giving the Cowboys an opportunity to go on the attack.
The home side wasted no time, with Aaron Payne setting up Matt Bowen for the opening try of the match. Johnathon Thurston added the extras to give the Cowboys a six-point-lead after three minutes.
A quick play the ball and some great service from dummy half from Cameron Smith enabled the Storm to threaten the Cowboys' line only three minutes later, and the visitors were unstoppable, with Matt Duffie crossing for a try. Smith added the extras to level the score.
It was hard to split the two teams over next passages of play, as they matched each other in attack and defence before a strong kick return from Slater put the Storm right on the attack in the 26th minute and Kevin Proctor crashed over for a try a minute later.
A perfectly weighted chip kick from Cronk created a try for Ryan Hinchcliffe in the 36th minute before the Cowboys hit back through Gavin Cooper just on half-time.
After the break the Storm took complete control of the match, with Jason Ryles opening up the second half scoring in only the 41st minute before the Storm began piling on the points.
The Cowboys faithful were given a reason to cheer in the second half, with James Tamou catching the Storm defence napping in the 66th minute. Thurston added the extras to narrow the Storm lead to 14, before the visitors piled on some more tries.
North Queensland Cowboys 18 were defeated by Melbourne Storm 42
National Rugby League - Round 6 - Sunday April 8, 2012 7:00pm
Venue: Dairy Farmers Stadium
Referee: Jared Maxwell and Gavin Reynolds
Video Referee: Phil Cooley
Touch Judges: Adam Reid and Clayton Sharpe
Halftime: North Queensland Cowboys 12 Melbourne Storm 16
Leagueunlimited.com players of the match:
3 Points - Billy Slater
2 Points - Cameron Smith (5 Conversions)
1 Point - Cooper Cronk
NORTH QUEENSLAND COWBOYS (18)
Tries: Matt Bowen, James Tamou, Gavin Cooper
Conversions: Johnathan Thurston (3/3)
MELBOURNE STORM (42)
Tries: Jason Ryles, Will Chambers (2), Kevin Proctor (2), Ryan Hinchcliffe, Matt Duffie (2)
Conversions: Cameron Smith (5/8)
LeagueUnlimited.com Live Commentary Join the conversation! Our forums are open for discussion 24/7 on the greatest game of all!
If you love Twitter, you'll love @LeagueUnlimited! Today's official NRL match hashtag is #NRLnqlmel Good evening folks and welcome to Dairy Farmers Stadium where the North Queensland Cowboys take on the Melbourne Storm.
The home side have announced no late changes to their side. For the Storm Justin 0'Neil will replace Sisa Waqa who is out.
1 min: Johnathon Thurston kicks off to bring us under way in the first half.
1 min: Todd Lowrie knocks on 40 out from his own line.
3 min: TRY
TRY! Aaron Payne grubbers into the in goal and Matt Bowen grounds it under the post. Thurston adds the extras.
North Queensland Cowboys 6-0
9 min: TRY
TRY! Matt Duffie scores for the Storm after a quick play the ball. Cameron Smith adds the extras.
10 min: The Storm will get a penalty on halfway after Johnathon Thurston's kick off goes out on the full.
11 min: Jesse Bromwich loses the ball on tackle four only a meter out from the line.
15 min: The Cowboys are making great meters here, they're already on halfway on tackle three.
16 min: Thurston goes to the air from 35 out on the last and Antonio Winterstein cannot control it and the Storm will get a scrum on their own 10 meter line.
17 min: Dallas Johnston is penalised for a strip and the Storm will get a piggyback up the field.
18 min: The Storm will get a line drop out after a perfectly weighted bomb by Cooper Cronk is grounded in goal by Ashley Graham.
19 min: Kevin Proctor loses the ball on the third only a meter out from the line.
25 min: The Storm are on the halfway line on tackle one after a great kick return by Slater.
26 min: The Storm will get a scrum 30 out from the Cowboys' line after Thurston knocks on trying to intercept a pass.
29 min: TRY
TRY! Kevin Proctor scores for the Storm after Cronk draws in a couple defenders. Smith adds the extras.
Melbourne Storm 12-6
30 min: The Storm receive a penalty.
31 min: Garreth Widdop is caught with ball on the last and the Cowboys are off the hook.
33 min: The Melbourne chasers are penalised for being offside and the Cowboys will get a piggyback out of their dangerzone.
35 min: Gavin Cooper passes a ball over the sideline just as the Cowboys were looking dangerous.
38 min: TRY
TRY! Cronk chips 30 out and Slater races through to pick up the ball 15 out, he passes to Ryan Hinchcliffe who scores. Smith's conversion is unsuccessful.
Melbourne Storm 16-6
39 min: Cronk knocks on 40 out from his own line.
40 min: TRY
TRY! Thurston draws in a couple of defenders and passes to Cooper who takes a couple of defenders with him over the line. Thurston adds the extras to set us up for an exciting second half.
Melbourne Storm 16-12
41 min: The second half is under way.
42 min: Slater is tackled 15 out from the Cowboys' line after making a break down the eastern touchline. Bowen took him down in a brilliant cover tackle.
44 min: TRY
TRY! Jason Ryles crashes over under the posts for a try. Smith adds the extras.
Melbourne Storm 22-12
47 min: The Storm receive a penalty.
48 min: Possible try to the Storm after Bowen attempted to pass in goal.
48 min: No try! Thomspson grounded the ball before Hoffman. Line drop out to the Storm.
51 min: TRY
TRY! Will Chambers scores down the right edge after running over Thurston. Smith fails to add the extras from the sideline.
Melbourne Storm 26-12
55 min: TRY
TRY! Cronk holds up the ball before finally passing to Kevin Proctor who crashes over the line. Smith adds the extras.
Melbourne Storm 32-12
58 min: The Storm receive a penalty and will go right on the attach.
59 min: The Stor will get a line dropout.
60 min: The Storm are pinned for a forward pass 30 out from the Cowboys' line.
63 min: Justin O'Neill knocks on 15 out from the Cowboys' line. The Storm were on the attack after the Cowboys failed to contest a Cronk kick.
65 min: Cronk knocks on 25 meters out from the Cowboys' line after the Storm make some great meters up the middle.
67 min: TRY
TRY! James Tamou crashes over for a try after the Storm defense was caught napping. Thurston adds the extras.
Melbourne Storm 32-18
71 min: TRY
TRY! Chambers strolls over for his second courtesy of some great work by Slater. Smith adds the extras.
Melbourne Storm 38-18
73 min: The Storm will receive a line dropout after Bowen is forced to take a Smith kick dead.
76 min: TRY
TRY! Cronk puts up a pin point accurate cross-field kick and Duffie rises above the pack to take it and score. Smith's conversion is unsuccessful.
Melbourne Storm 42-18
78 min: Widdop busts them up the middle and chips 30 out from the Cowboys' line but Bowen is able to diffuse the situation.
79 min: The Storm will get one last opportunity to score a try after a forward pass from Thurston.
79 min: The Cowboys survive this time.
80 min: That's the game.