While still only in second gear so far in 2009, the Storm were still able to overcome the home side and remain in touch with the NRL leaders.
With the rangy Greg Inglis now being seen more at his traditional centre position, he is able to produce his absolute best. The big Queenslander proving a major handful for the Cowboys all night.
While Inglis didn’t have a lot of touches, when he did – they were all class. Plenty of talk has centred around possible injuries and fitness concerns – but the talented ball runner was hard to stop when he put the foot down.
As usual Billy Slater too was a dynamo whenever he got any ball.
Statistically it’s been all the Storm over the Cows in recent times, their 5th consecutive win over Nth Queensland and the 3rd in a row at Dairy Farmers.
Coach Craig Bellamy will be particularly pleased with Melbourne’s re-focus on defence. Their attention to detail was back and despite a 7-2 penalty count against them, the held strong and kept a 6 point lead at the break.
All the usual suspects for Melbourne were touching down, Greg Inglis roaring away over the line, as did Cronk and Quinn to give the Storm an 18-12 lead early in the second half.
It probably could have been a larger margin for the Storm, but the Cowboys to their credit were also defending stoutly during some periods of the match.
With the Cowboys still having a sniff nearly 20 minutes into the second half, it took a Cameron Smith penalty goal to get the Storm to a safer 8 point lead – this probably taking the wind out of the local sides sails.
Moments later it didn’t matter anyway, Billy Slater playing ball for Steve Turner to score on the right hand edge. The out of sorts Turner needing the try for confidence sake.
The try however wasn’t without controversy, with some feeling that the video ref should have been called upon after Jonathan Thurston was felled in the defence line.
More drastic goal line defence was needed from the Cowboys, with the Storm again peppering late – looking to make the score even worse for the home side, but last ditch efforts from Bowen and Williams kept some respectability about things for the Cows.
While there may have been some positives in defence for the North Queensland side, they did still concede 26 points and their usually unstoppable attack failed to materialise as they allowed the Storm to control possession and tempo for most of this clash.