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Storm fullback Billy Slater in his return against the Broncos in Round 3.

Brisbane defended like men possessed but in the end a freakish try and a clutch conversion saw the Storm pull out a thrilling 14-12 win at home in Billy Slater's first match since Round 1, 2016.

Cameron Smith is not human

Fatigued, frustrated and on the wrong side of the field, Cameron Smith was never meant to convert Josh Addo-Carr's 77th-minute pinball try. Having made 51 tackles and seen his side repelled at every turn, the Storm skipper somehow stepped up at the death to knock over a sideline conversion from the left side of the field - the wrong side for a left-foot kicker – to win it. Starting it at the left upright, Smith curled it perfectly through the posts to win his side the game a week after he brought up 2,000 competition points. What a man. 

Welcome back Billy

After a 374-day injury lay-off, champion fullback Billy Slater finally made his long-awaited return for the Melbourne Storm. He had to wait 28 minutes to do so, starting from the bench for the first time at club level since 2006. It was 14 years to the day since Slater scored a double on his NRL debut against the Sharks, and the Storm legend wasted little time getting back into the groove with a customary take from a high ball followed by a swerving run for a short gain. His timing wasn't always perfect, and there were a few errors, but there were still plenty of positive signs for the former Maroons and Kangaroos No.1. 


Broncos defence as good as it gets 

Melbourne should have won this game by 40 points. But they didn't. Brisbane's defence from start to finish was as resilient as anything you're likely to see this season. Wayne Bennett's men missed more tackles and allowed more metres than the Storm but they more than made up for it with dogged defence on their own line. Time and time again they forced Melbourne into uncharacteristic errors in prime attacking positions. The Storm had 18 tackles in the first half in the 'red zone' compared to just one for the Broncos yet only managed one try before half-time. It would be easy to blame Melbourne's new-look spine, but if truth be told, they simply had no answers for Brisbane's brick-wall defence. It took a freakish try for them to win it, but the Broncos should take plenty from a brave, brave performance. 

Cameron Munster could be set for a stint on the sidelines

The Storm's win might have been soured with news fullback-turned-five-eighth Cameron Muster may have broken his jaw following a head clash with Brisbane's Corey Oates in the second half. Munster was immediately taken from the field with blood trickling from the wound in a cruel blow for the Storm who were testing out their new-look spine for the first time. If he is sidelined, Melbourne can take solace from the fact rookie Ryley Jacks has looked comfortable in the halves scoring a try and throwing the final pass for Addo-Carr's four-pointer. 

Who is the fastest man in league?

Storm winger Josh Addo-Carr sent shockwaves through the rugby league world when he chased down James Roberts with ease at the Auckland Nines back in February. But the Broncos centre got one back on his rival with a long-range four-pointer on Thursday night after he swooped on an errant Cooper Cronk pass and showed just enough speed to outrun Addo-Carr. It's a good debate as to who the fastest player over 100 metres is, and I can exclusively reveal that will have a player poll tackling this issue on the site on Friday morning. 

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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