Melbourne flew out of the blocks and withstood a strong Broncos comeback in the second half to record an entertaining 32-26 win at Suncorp Stadium in Round 4.
Continuing their proud tradition of starting the season in top form, the Storm took just four minutes to open the scoring as Billy Slater chimed into the backline and put Junior Sa’u into a gap – the big centre too powerful as he crashed his way over.
Four minutes later, Melbourne pulled out their pet play as Cooper Cronk received the ball from a scrum and threw an inside ball to Slater who raced away to score. Slater added another in the 15th minute as he chased through a Cameron Smith grubber and although Josh Hoffman stopped the rot when he crossed in the corner for the Broncos, Melbourne was in again before half-time when Cronk chipped over the top for Slater, who raced through to set Matt Duffie up for a 20-4 half-time lead.
The match looked done and dusted by this stage but Brisbane had other ideas and hit the ground running after the break. Quick hands to the left paved the way for Josh Hoffman to score in the corner, a set play soon after saw Jack Reed reach out to score and the very same play saw Hoffman add his second as Brisbane hit the lead 22-20 with 27 minutes still to play.
The lead didn’t last long. A Cronk bomb was grabbed on the try line by Slater who completed his hat-trick and a wonderful team try to Duffie gave the visitors breathing room once more at 32-22.
Alex Glenn ensured a tense finish when he crossed in the 71st minute but the Broncos couldn’t find the winning play.
Melbourne was forced to make more tackles than the Broncos and made two fewer line breaks but made the most of their 52 per cent possession.
Slater was easily the Storm’s best with three tries, 126 metres and a line-break while Ben Hannant was superb for the home side with a game-high 154 metres and 42 tackles.