Storm march on as Thurston breaks down

The Melbourne Storm have shown great courage to beat the North Queensland Cowboys 36-4 in front of a great crowd of 19,853 at Dairy Farmer Stadium, but the match wasn't the only thing the Cowboys lost.

Just five minutes into the game, Johnathan Thurston was taken off the field with what appeared to be a serious shoulder injury. Despite whispers he may return, medical staff ruled him out, and there is serious doubt over when he will return to the field.

His absence was well noted as the Cowboys lacked leadership and direction in attack. They failed to produce anything substantial in attack, and never really appeared to trouble the Melbourne Storm's defence.

It took the Storm sixteen minutes to cross for their first try thanks to Bryan Norrie, followed by a Matthew Duffie try in the 24th, Greg Inglis in the 36th and Brett Finch on the stroke of half time. Cameron Smith's kicking game was off in the first half, converting just one of the four tries to put the Storm 18 - 0 leaders at half time.

The second half wasn't much better for the Cowboys who were lazy in defence and lacked any intensity, making a total of 13 errors. Dane Nielson extended the Storm's lead in the 47th minute, followed by Anthony Quinn who strolled across just a few minutes later.

The Cowboys had one thing to cheer for when Ashley Graham scored in the 59th minute, but their fans had no praise for their defence, who let Jeff Lima over in the 70th minute, allowing the Storm to finish 34-6.

Melbourne are showing they are going to keep playing to win this year, despite the fact they cannot get any points. Eyes now turn to Thurston and whether or not he will be fit for this Friday's test, and when the Cowboys can expect him to be back on the field.

Match Details
North Queensland Cowboys 6 were defeated by Melbourne Storm 34
National Rugby League - NRL - Round 8 - Saturday May 1, 2010 7:30pm
Venue: Dairy Farmers Stadium
Referee: Gavin Badger and Gerard Sutton
Video Referee: Phil Cooley
Touch Judges: David Abood and Luke Phillips
Crowd: 19853
Halftime: North Queensland Cowboys 0 Melbourne Storm 18

Leagueunlimited.com players of the match:
3 Points - Cooper Cronk
2 Points - Ryan Hoffman
1 Point - Jeff Lima (1 Try)

North Queensland Cowboys (6)
Tries: Scott Bolton
Conversions: Ashley Graham (1/1)

Melbourne Storm (34)
Tries: Greg Inglis, Bryan Norrie, Anthony Quinn, Jeff Lima, Brett Finch, Dane Nielsen, Matt Duffie
Conversions: Greg Inglis (0/1), Cameron Smith (3/6)

LeagueUnlimited.com Live Commentary Welcome to this match between the Melbourne Storm and the North Queensland Cowboys - we're in for a great game here!
1 min: And we are off! Here we go!
7 min: Both sides are very even here at the moment - completing their sets and looking ominous in attack. Surely someone will cross soon.
12 min: Still no score. Cowboys have completed all 7 sets while the Storm have completed 5 from 6. Both are pressing hard to the opposition's line and want to be the first to score.
16 min: Bad news for Cowboys fans as Thurston has had to go off the field.
16 min: TRY
TRY Melbourne Storm
Scored by Bryan Norrie. Conversion attempt by Cameron Smith successful. The storm are the first to break the deadlock through a good try scored by Bryan Norrie.
Melbourne Storm 6-0
19 min: Thurston's shoulder appears to be the culprit behind him coming off the field. Will try to get more information as the game goes on.
22 min: TRY
TRY Melbourne Storm
Scored by Matt Duffie. Conversion attempt by Cameron Smith unsuccessful. A good try scored there thanks to a good effort from Willie Tonga and a terrible attempt at a tackle by Willie Mason. Cowboys aren't looking good at the moment.
Melbourne Storm 10-0
25 min: Lowrie knocks on straight away and the Cowboys will get a chance to get back into this game.
26 min: Possible Cowboys try... checking with the video ref if they got the ball down.
26 min: No try - Rapira was held up. He appears to be injured here as well! Cowboys still on the attack.
27 min: Steve Rapira has gone off the field. Appears his shoulder, even his collarbone, is giving him discomfort. The Cowboys playing roster getting shorter by the minute.
29 min: Cowboys have six to go close to the Storm line. Surely they will score here and get on the board.
29 min: Another possible try to the Cowboys? No! Ruled short! Cowboys a metre out on the last!
30 min: High kick defused by Inglis and the Storm get out of trouble. Very lucky not to have any points put on them there!
33 min: Still back and forth football - very exciting. Both teams looking like scoring when they have the ball but alas, we haven't had any change in the scoreboard.
36 min: TRY
TRY Melbourne Storm
Scored by Greg Inglis. Conversion attempt by Cameron Smith unsuccessful. A great effort by Inglis sees him scoot away. He is almost chased down by a Cowboys player but is just too quick, crossing for the Storm's third just before half time.
Melbourne Storm 14-0
39 min: TRY
TRY Melbourne Storm
Scored by Brett Finch. Conversion attempt by Cameron Smith unsuccessful. A great play by Cronk - puts in a little kick, has support and sends Finch in. What a blow on half time!
Melbourne Storm 18-0
40 min: Thats halftime. Storm leading 18 to zip
40 min: Cowboys get us started here, kicking off the second half.
41 min: Still no more news on Thurston as of yet.
42 min: Medical staff who have been looking at Thurston have said there is a chance he could come back this game. Great news for Cowboys fans and the team itself that he may not be severely injured. Rapira is also back on the bench - hopefully his injury isn't as bad as it looked.
43 min: Lots of conflicting information for me - but it is official now, Thurston WON'T be back tonight. Extent of injury is not known.
46 min: The Storm were looking good there, but a knock on from Greg Inglis sees it fizzle out. Scrum to North Queensland.
48 min: TRY
TRY Melbourne Storm
Scored by Dane Nielsen. Conversion attempt by Cameron Smith successful. Shocking defence from the Cowboys sees such an easy try for the Storm. I think you can pretty much write the Cowboys off now - they don't even look like they want to be here. The crowd has gone very quiet.
Melbourne Storm 24-0
52 min: Cowboys defence looking poor - Storm are looking like they will score here again.
53 min: TRY
TRY Melbourne Storm
Scored by Anthony Quinn. Conversion attempt by Cameron Smith successful. Poor defence allows the Storm to cross again thanks to an obvious set move. Great attack here, but the Cowboys are looking like an under 12's side.
Melbourne Storm 30-0
57 min: Hoffman got away and looked like he would get the ball away to Inglis to score again, but somehow Graham gets in the way and gets the ball.
60 min: TRY
TRY North Queensland Cowboys
Scored by Scott Bolton. Conversion attempt by Ashley Graham successful. First try scored for the Cowboys and they are on the board.
Melbourne Storm 30-6
63 min: The Cowboys are trying to show some intensity, but they are a long way behind on the scoreboard and without Thurston, they've had little leadership or direction.
67 min: Cowboys looking dangerous in attack at the moment - 10 metres out on the last...
68 min: ... and they knock on. Game getting a bit scrappy here.
71 min: Now the Storm are looking dangerous - only a few metres out. Lima has crossed but appears to be held up. Should be back on the 10 and another shot for the Storm.
71 min: Lima may have actually scored here - should be a Ref's call we think... still waiting.
73 min: TRY
TRY Melbourne Storm
Scored by Jeff Lima. Conversion attempt by Cameron Smith unsuccessful. Ref's call - its a try! The referee decides that he has got it down, to the protests of the Cowboys players.
Melbourne Storm 34-6
73 min: Wonder with Smith didn't kick that goal? Maybe he is off the field? I can't see him.
75 min: Possible Slater try - checking with the video ref. Seeing if someone knocked on in that jump for the ball.
75 min: No try - Penalty because a player was taken out.
77 min: Crowd - 19853
78 min: Knock ons galore at the moment. Game getting a bit scrappy as we wind down.
80 min: Thats the end of this entertaining contest - The storm winning easily 34-6 and never looked threatened by a very depleted Cowboys outfit.

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