Brisbane coach Anthony Griffin rested State of Origin stars Sam Thaiday, Justin Hodges and Petero Civoniceva in the wake of Queensland’s game one win and his weakened outfit proved no match for a full-strength Storm side as they fell to a 34-10 defeat at AAMI Park back in Round 12.
In a performance rated by Griffin as Brisbane’s worst of the year, the Storm opened the scoring with ease after six minutes when a Cooper Cronk inside ball saw Jason Ryles stroll through the middle untouched, before sending Todd Lowrie over between the posts.
Brisbane hit back after 20 minutes as slick hands saw Jack Reed score out wide, but two quick tries shortly before halftime turned the match on its head. The first saw Cronk place a well-weighted kick behind the line for Lowrie to pounce and the second saw Melbourne execute a brilliant set play with Billy Slater putting Will Chambers through a gap to score on the right edge.
Leading 16-6 at the break, Melbourne all but sealed victory in the 45th minute when Cronk again put in a grubber and Lowrie reacted best to bat the bouncing inside for Slater to score.
Ben Te’o gave the visitors some hope when he scored with 29 minutes remaining but two long-range tries top Slater and Justin O’Neill quickly ended any thoughts of a Broncos comeback.
Melbourne completed their sets at 78 per cent (28 of 36) compared to just 65 per cent by the Broncos.
Cronk was exceptional for the home side with three try assists while Ryan Hoffman contributed 125 metres and 22 tackles.
Josh Hoffman made 182 metres for Brisbane and added six tackle-breaks.