Melbourne bounced from last week's heartbreaking loss with a crushing 42-12 win over premiership rivals the Brisbane Broncos at Suncorp Stadium.
Attack good, defence even better
Their attack got them on the front foot but it was Melbourne's defence that ensured their hard work wouldn't go unrewarded. Leading 20-6 late in the first half, the Storm were forced to defend their own line for three consecutive sets and it seemed a matter of time until they would be cracked. Instead, Cameron Smith came up with a huge shot on Tevita Pangai Jr, Cameron Munster raced out to smash Ben Hunt and Felise Kaufusi stopped Tautau Moga in the space of 60 seconds. Their pressure eventually told with the Broncos spilling the ball metres from the line to ensure Melbourne headed to the sheds with a handy 14-point lead. With the game well and truly over, Will Chambers and Billy Slater produced one of the try-saving tackles of the year to deny James Roberts a certain four-pointer when most teams would have clocked off.
Munster firms for Origin debut
The calls for Cameron Munster to make his State of Origin debut are getting louder after the Storm five-eighth continued his successful switch to the halves with another star showing in the No.6 jersey. Named 18th man for the Maroons in Game Two, Munster is one of the favourites to replace the injured Johnathan Thurston for the decider despite never having played for his state. Whether he lines up in the halves, at left centre or on the bench, Munster is all but assured a spot in the Queensland 17 after he torched the Broncos at the ground he could very well be playing at again in less than two weeks. The 22-year-old cut through the teeth of the defence with a scything run that eventually led to points and then came up with a freakish kick to set up Suliasi Vunivalu's second of the night to cap a fabulous first half and was a constant menace in the second stanza.
Blair penalty halts Broncos' momentum
When David Mead touched down and Jordan Kahu converted from out wide to bring the Broncos within eight points, it looked as if the hosts were about to make their charge. The comeback lasted just three minutes, however, as Adam Blair conceded a soft penalty against his former side and was immediately made to pay as rookie Curtis Scott crossed to extend Melbourne's lead beyond two converted tries. Further tries to Billy Slater and Cameron Smith in the next five minutes killed off the contest on a night that highlighted the gulf in class between the Storm and the chasing pack.
Vunivalu continues Suncorp love affair
He started the round with the second-most tries in the NRL but it look less than 40 minutes for Storm winger Suliasi Vunivalu to equal Raiders flyer Jordan Rapana with a freakish first-half double. His first four-pointer was a trademark one-handed put down in the right corner but his second try was simply magical as he flew through the air to somehow reel in a rushed Cameron Munster cross-field kick to score. His efforts came a year (minus a day) after he destroyed the Broncos at the same venue with a hat-trick that saw him torment Kodi Nikorima in the air. He now has 37 tries from just 36 appearances
McGuire in doubt for Origin
Maroons coach Kevin Walters will have his fingers crossed that Josh McGuire recovers in time for the July 12 decider after the Broncos lock was helped from the field with what looked to be a nasty concussion. McGuire got his head in the wrong spot and collected the hip of Jesse Bromwich as a result, leaving the workhorse No.13 with wobbly feet. Clearly concussed, McGuire tried to tell the trainers that he was fit enough to continue and at one stage attempted to fight his way through five Broncos officials to get back on the field. The Maroons lock will have to go through a series of protocols in the coming days in a bid to prove his fitness for Game Three.