The Brisbane Broncos have maintained their status on top of the NRL competition with an important two-point win over the Melbourne Storm.
Brisbane have enjoyed a terrific 2015 season and this has continued at AAMI Park.
It was a crucial victory for the Broncos over one of the real contenders for this year’s title.
It confirms the Broncos as the team to beat, with their dominant defence and sensational attack.
The Storm started the match promisingly, putting pressure on Brisbane’s try-line.
They forced a goal-line dropout but could not crack the Broncos’ defence early.
However, after nine minutes they finally got their reward through the impressive Blake Green.
The half threw two dummies and then forced his way in.
It was good vision from Green and strength to claim a try.
Green has been an acute signing from the Wigan Warriors in Super Leaugue.
It was all Melbourne early. The Broncos were lacklustre and letting the Storm get a roll on.
Melbourne were perfect and dominating possession.
And then the game changed in an instant.
Brisbane finally got some field position and made the Storm pay.
The ball came to the right wing and Jordan Kahu brilliantly drew two defenders and offloaded to Lachlan Maranta.
The winger strolled over and the Broncos were back in it.
It showed what the ruthless Broncos can do with just one set of six.
Melbourne were forcing dropouts at will but Brisbane’s defence was sensational.
The final finishing touch was missing from the Storm without the injured Billy Slater and Cooper Cronk.
And on 29 minutes the Broncos struck again.
The ball went through the hands, pass to pass, until it came wide to Jack Reed.
The centre dived over and Brisbane had an 8-6 lead.
But it only lasted five minutes. Melbourne are no mugs and they quickly struck back.
Cameron Smith darted from dummy half and found Green in support.
There was the slightest hole in Brisbane’s line and it was enough to Green to cross.
Very smart play from the Australian captain and Storm skipper, Smith, to create the try.
Melbourne took a 12-8 lead into half-time.
In the second half Brisbane started strongly.
On 50 minutes Corey Oates scored when Anthony Milford found him with a pin-point kick.
Milford’s dink was perfectly weighted.
Kahu converted and the Broncos had a 14-12 lead.
They would hold onto that for the next 30 minutes as both teams went scoreless.
Melbourne had a try disallowed from the video referee and kept peppering Brisbane’s try-line.
The dropouts were racking up but the Broncos were content to defend their try-line. It was heroic stuff.
The Storm kept Brisbane pinned down but just couldn’t find the vital try they needed.
The Broncos have a terrible record in the Victorian capital over the years but will go home very satisfied with this victory.
It was one built on hard work, guts and pure determination, and will leave coach Wayne Bennett very pleased.