The Storm beat the Broncos 32-20 thanks to masterclasses from Cameron Munster and Jahrome Hughes in a frantic matchup at AAMI Park.
Hughes and Munster were at the peak of their powers as the Storm came from 16-6 down to score five consecutive tries and put the game to bed.
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Tui Kamikamica crashed in from close range to give the Storm an early 6-0 lead.
Dean Ieremia was granted a try after a Broncos error in the in-goal but replays showed he had bounced the ball as he put it down and the call was overturned.
Kurt Capewell produced a Harlem Globe Trotters pass to give Corey Oates his 11th try of the season on a set.
“What a pass,” Dan Ginnane said.
Oates was back for his brace seven minutes later after rolling back inside into a gaping hole.
Selwyn Cobbo produced a brilliant finish on his return to the side after the Broncos exploited a Storm error to trot three tries.
“What a finish from Cobbo,” said Greg Alexander.
“And what a pass from Tyrone Roberts, wow.”
Cobbo went from hero to villain when he failed to cover a back kick with his fumble allowing Munster to score wide of the posts and reduce the deficit to four points before half-time.
Hughes completed a brilliant break and a lightning pass from Nick Meaney to lock the scores at 16-16 with a minute left in the first half.
Munster produced a brilliant pass for Justin Olam to set up Dean Ieremia for a try in the corner to break the deadlock with Cobbo slipping at the worst possible moment.
Ieremia had two tries in two minutes despite a controversial forward pass overlooked in the build-up.
“That was before,” Alexander said.
Hughes capped off a brilliant night with a grubber for himself to score and put the game to bed.
The Broncos scored a consolation try at Mam, which saw the scoreline reflect the closeness of the contest, but the Storms were too chic in the end.
Here are the main takeaways from the game.
MUNSTER AND HUGHES TOO CLASSY IN EPIC
The Storm lost 16-6 at one point but stormed home thanks to epic performances from Munster and Hughes.
Benji Marshall thinks Munster is the best player in rugby league.
“I never say things like that, but I would go so far as to say he’s the best player in the game right now,” Marshall said.
“For the impact he has on plays. In Origin the other night, some of those plays he made defensively.
“Tonight, the decisions he made. He just has a knack for knowing which game to play at the right time on a football pitch and that’s hard to do. A lot of players plan the things they do, but he has a plan, but he bypasses the things he can do within the plan.
Gorden Tallis compared Munster to Wally Lewis.
“Every play he makes becomes effortless for him,” Tallis said.
“Cameron Munster, I’m not going to say he’s Wally Lewis, but right now he captures moments like no other player does.
“If there’s a robbery, a kick or a chase, it seems to be everywhere right now.”
Hughes was arguably even better than Munster with Marshall scoring his crucial try before half-time which blocked the scores.
“The last try in the first half against Jahrome Hughes reminded me of Billy Slater, Cameron Smith and Cooper Cronk back in the day,” Marshall said.
“Outside, on the ball, Nick Meaney returns to Hughes who has too much pace to pass in the corner.
“The Melbourne Storm was down but never home.”
Greg Alexander paid tribute to the Storm halves for their influence on the game, but was particularly impressed with the No 7
“Just at the end of the first half, a try for Cameron Munster and a try for Jahrome Hughes,” Alexander said.
“Both players were fantastic tonight, especially Hughes who scored that try just before half-time after opening up the Brisbane defence.
“The Storm know how important Hughes is.
“Because we don’t see him in representative football, his star is probably not as bright as it should be.
“He’s a quality number 7. I don’t know if there’s a better number 7 in the game.
“But there are other parts of his game that are underrated.”
COBBO’S MIXED BAG AS OATES SET UP FOR ORIGIN RECALL
Corey Oates has reminded Maroons manager Billy Slater that he wouldn’t look out of place to replace the injured Xavier Coates in Origin II, while Selwyn Cobbo had a mixed night at the office.
Coates scored a brace to take his total tries to 12 for the season and Gorden Tallis believes it was a timely reminder to the Queensland coach of his credentials.
“The Broncos hit back with some brilliant tries to their wingers,” Tallis said.
“Corey Oates has had a great season. He gets up in the air. He reminds Billy Slater that he’s still here.
“It was a great ball from Capewell to dive into the corner.”
Cobbo produced a brilliant first-half finish but was guilty of slipping twice to deliver Storm’s crucial tries to Cameron Munster and Dean Ieremia.
Either way, Michael Ennis was impressed with Brisbane’s resilience to keep fighting for 80 minutes.
“Brisbane showed great resilience and something we haven’t seen in recent seasons,” Ennis said.
“There at AAAMI Park, there is no tougher road trip in the game.
“They just kept hanging on and fighting.”
BRONCOS HALVES SHINE IN REYNOLDS’ ABSENCE
The Broncos had no chance of winning in Melbourne without Adam Reynolds, but Ezra Mam and Tyrone Roberts stepped up to give the Broncos every chance to cause an upset.
Michael Ennis praised Roberts for his superb assist for Cobbo’s first-half try.
“Tyrone Roberts had his chance in the half and threw a heartbreaking ball for Selwyn Cobbo,” Ennis said.
Benji Marshall has been impressed with Roberts after such a long absence from the NRL.
“Tyrone Roberts didn’t look out of place,” Marshall said.
“He hasn’t played in the NRL for a few years.”
Greg Alexander thinks the Broncos’ halves were great considering they replaced arguably the team’s most important player in skipper and running back Reynolds.
“They were without Adam Reynolds, but that was handled very effectively by Tyrone Roberts and Ezra Mam,” Alexander said.
“They were dangerous with the ball, but the kicking game of Roberts and Te Maire Martin and Billy Walters off the dummyhalf during the first half kept the pressure on the Storm.
“They had three quick tries in nine minutes.
“Ezra Mam is only 19 years old. There’s a man with just three games of NRL experience and he was playing with half-back Tyrone Roberts who played just eight minutes of football in two years in the NRL.
The Melbourne Storm host the Brisbane Broncos in a blockbuster clash at AAMI Park.
Ryan Papenhuyzen has been denied a return after an injury layoff due to a positive Covid test, with debutant Grant Anderson retaining his spot after two tries on his debut.
Harry Grant was named to start with Brandon Smith who was benched after the prostitutes were traded late last week.
For the Broncos, Adam Reynolds is out with a rib injury, with Tyrone Roberts entering at halfback.
Kotoni Staggs returns from a shoulder injury suffered in Origin I, with Brenko Lee replacing the injured Herbie Farnworth.
Payne Haas was named to play despite a shoulder injury and will take his place.
Kurt Capewell returns with Selwyn Cobbo in a timely injury boost for the Broncos.
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