Melbourne Storm beat Brisbane Broncos 22-12 in NRL season opener in Melbourne
Melbourne’s stunning round-one record under coach Craig Bellamy remains intact after the Storm held off a resurgent Brisbane to open the NRL season with a 22-12 win at AAMI Park.
- The Storm have not lost an opening-round match for the past 16 years
- Jesse Bromwich iced the Storm’s win with a try in the 67th minute
- Broncos forward Matt Lodge could face the scrutiny of the match review panel for a late hit on Cameron Munster
Heading into the match the Storm had not lost in the opening round in the 16 years Bellamy had been at the helm, and in the first half that looked likely to stretch to another year with the Broncos disappointing.
But two tries to Brisbane winger Corey Oates within two minutes midway through the second stanza turned the game on its head.
Oates’s second effort could not have been simpler, with Melbourne prop Jesse Bromwich attempting an unlikely offload and throwing the ball straight into his arms for him to scamper through to close the lead to four points.
But six minutes later Bromwich was back in the good books with a barnstorming run from 15 metres out to score the Storm’s fourth try of the night and from there they were not troubled.
The first of their tries was scored by Jahrome Hughes, who impressed in his first outing as the replacement for retired superstar fullback Billy Slater.
Oates got past him for both of his tries but Hughes still looked the part.
His try came in the third minute, not long after Brisbane were penalised as prop Matt Lodge dove at the legs of Storm playmaker Cameron Munster after he kicked.
Lodge could find himself in trouble with the NRL match review panel with the hit coming late and low.
Just after the restart Brisbane lost centre James Roberts, who clutched at his back as he was assisted to the change rooms.
Munster was one of Melbourne’s best, with his kicking game effective compared to Broncos halves Kodi Nikorima and Anthony Milford.
Brisbane was buoyed by the return of Matt Gillett, who topped their tackle count with 50 in his new position as lock in his first NRL match back since fracturing his neck in round five last year.