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Darren Lockyer screams in anguish as Adam Blair (No.15) celebrates with his Storm teammates after their 16-14 win in the 2008 semi-final.

Watch the match highlights again and your heart begins to beat faster in your chest, even though you know full well what's coming.


It's been almost seven years since Greg Inglis scored in the south-east corner of Suncorp Stadium in the final minute of the Broncos v Storm semi-final and broke Brisbane hearts in what at the time would be Wayne Bennett's last game in charge.

The ice-cool temperament of Darren Lockyer shattered in an instant as he first raised his two hands to his head in disbelief before crumbling to his knees and smashing the turf with his fist.

He agreed to do a post-match interview with Channel Nine but all he could muster was, "I don't think I've ever felt like that."

It is a match full of pain for Broncos players but also one of mixed emotions for Storm fans who had to see their team humiliated in the grand final due to the two-game suspension handed down to captain Cameron Smith in the wake of their 16-14 win in Brisbane.

When the Broncos and Storm met in June it was just two points that separated them again and there is every chance Thursday night's rematch won't be their last meeting in 2015.

After squeaking past the Broncos in 2008 the Storm easily accounted for the Sharks in the preliminary final before running into a rampant Manly team in the decider, their place in the grand final one Sam Thaiday believes should have belonged to Brisbane.

"We'd done all the hard work to win the game," Thaiday recalls, who had to leave the field late in the contest with an ankle injury.

"You wait for little moments in a season and you kind of know that you're going to be in a grand final or win a grand final. In 2006 we played the Bulldogs and that was the game, that was the turning point. We knew we weren't going to lose the grand final after that game because we showed such grit and determination to come back from 20-6 at half-time.

"We showed grit and determination then and we had a belief that we could still win and we took that into the grand final and there was no way Melbourne was going to beat us that year.

"In 2008 we'd done all the hard work to get into a grand final, we just had to hold the ball and get through it.

"There are so many highs and lows in what we do as rugby league players and sitting back now, it's been almost 10 years since we've been in a grand final. It's a long time in between drinks and it just shows how hard it actually is to get into a grand final to begin with, let alone win one."

Of course, the recollection of former Storm forward and now Bronco Adam Blair is a decidedly different one. Along with Michael Crocker, Jeremy Smith and Jeff Lima in particular, the Storm had a ruthless forward pack that competed hard on every single play.

They hit Ashton Sims so hard with a minute to go and the game apparently lost that the ball was jolted free and Blair said the emotion of that win carried them through to the grand final.

"Winning games on the bell, they're the special moments," Blair told "We had some special moments in there where they lost the ball and we ended up scoring in the corner and winning the game.

"Those games are the games that turn the end of the season around. We ended up getting smoked in the final but in saying that it's hard enough getting into the final and being a part of it."

Seven years on and almost a decade since their last premiership, Thaiday not only recognises the opportunity afforded to the top-four bound Broncos but will ensure the younger members of the squad seize it also.

"As an older player I've got more of an appreciation of semi-finals and trying to push now to make a grand final again because who knows, it might not be for another long period of time before you get into this position again," Thaiday said.

"I'll make sure I do everything I can as a player and hopefully encourage and inspire some of these other guys in the team to really lift and get through these games as well."

Acknowledgement of Country

National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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