It was a game that went down to the wire, and perhaps one that both side was unlucky to lose, but in the NRL, one team has to lose – and last night, that was the Brisbane Broncos, as a Cooper Cronk field goal guided the Melbourne Storm to a 19-18 win.
Trailing for a good portion of the game, it was a resilient Storm side that saw them overcome a 12-0 deficit to ultimately win the game, despite some controversy surrounding their first try to winger, Sisa Waqa.
With the torso rule one of much conjecture, video referee Paul Simpkins required several looks at this particular try, with Waqa seeming to lose control of the ball before grounding it with his torso – but Simpkins awarded it.
The Storm were forced to work hard to get back into the game, but coach Craig Bellamy praised his side’s resolve to not only get back into the game, but to retain their lead.
“I thought we defended tremendously well in the first half, I don’t think they (Brisbane) made a mistake,” said Bellamy.
“The way the players hung in and kept fighting reminded me of Storm teams of the past.”
Storm captain Cameron Smith, who made a whopping 43 tackles and was thus evidently exhausted, commented on the semi-final feel of the game.
“It reminded me a lot of 2008 when we won a semi-final up here in the last minute (when Greg Inglis scored off a dropped ball).
“They threw everything at us. A team hasn’t thrown that much at us all year.”
Despite the second successive game that saw the Broncos give up a lead, both coach Anthony Griffin and skipper Sam Thaiday, were pleased with the overall performance.
“It’s frustrating, but we’ll get there,” said Griffin.
Thaiday applauded his side, for what he said was, “playing their backsides off”.
“If we keep playing like that, we’ll end up where we want to be,” he said.