The Broncos will now endure a torturous weekend as they wait to learn of their finals fate.
Brisbane were gallant but in the end leave Melbourne empty handed after falling to a 22-12 defeat in front of 20,032 fans at AAMI Park.
Brisbane burst out of the blocks, dominating 68% of possession in the opening 10 minutes but failed to make it count.
Melbourne made them pay with two tries by the 21-minute mark and despite scores being level for much of the second half, Brisbane could never gain the ascendency.
Broncos fans will be left to rue two disallowed tries with video replays doing their grievances no harm in either case.
But it would be their own missed opportunity – including three first half errors in Storm territory – that would leave coach Anthony Griffin despondent post-match.
“It was a really good, tough game of football but going back to that 12-point jump they got on us was probably the difference,” said Griffin.
“I thought from then we were well on top for a long period of that game but unfortunately a kick and an intercept and we end up with nothing.
“It was a really good effort by a really committed football team.”
The result may have drawn Griffin’s time as Broncos coach to an end, with defeats to the Warriors and Eels the only thing that can extend his stay.
It also marked eight-straight defeats at the hands of the Storm.
Mahe Fonua sunk the dagger in with two tries in the final 15 minutes, the centre intercepting a Ben Hunt pass for his second of the night.
Broncos captain Corey Parker was almost lost for words after the game with visions of those deciding plays ringing in his memory.
“It is a tough pill to swallow, now we’ve got to sit on our hands and hope for results,” said Parker.
“They showed on fifth play they can mount a bit of pressure. We did in patches but when you’re chasing your tail a bit you tend to play out of the groove a fraction and we are not a side that plays like that.
“They executed well on fifth play but if we are to be given an opportunity in the finals I’ve got full confidence.”
It is not the end of the line yet for the Broncos in 2014. If the Raiders can defeat the Eels and the Panthers overcome the Warriors by four or more, Brisbane will sneak into the top eight.