The news before the game was not great for the Brisbane Broncos as centre Justin Hodges was ruled out just before the game, but that did not stop the Broncos from putting in a steely effort, one that pushed the competition front-runners in the Melbourne Storm all the way.
Pushing the Storm all the way did not look likely early on, as the Victorian side burst out to a 20-6 lead, before a second-half revival saw the Broncos take the lead at one stage, only for the dogged Storm to find a way back into the contest to end up winners, taking the game 32-26.
It was their young players who were stepping up when it mattered, with the likes of Corey Norman, Josh Hoffman and Jack Reed all playing crucial roles to get Brisbane back in the game and into the lead late on.
The only sour note for Brisbane, was losing forward David Stagg to a knee injury, with the forward having to be helped off by trainers.
Not even coach Sam Thaiday knows what was said at half-time, but whatever it was, it worked for a while, but Thaiday knows his side fell just short with it all.
“I don’t know what was said at halftime but we came out with a different attitude and ready to play,” Thaiday said.
“We got a jump on them but we just couldn’t go on with it.”
For the Storm, with Craig Bellamy at the helm and regarded as one of the game’s best coaches, he could see the Broncos fightback coming, but admits that he was not expecting his side to concede 26 points.
“They are a very proud club. We knew it was going to be a dog fight,” he said.
“Still, we are not used to having 26 points scored against us. It was a bit disappointing to lose our grip on the game like we did.
“I never felt comfortable at halftime. Some things we weren’t doing in defence and it snowballed in the second half.”
Storm captain Cameron Smith knows exactly what Brisbane set out to do, and that was to prove a point.
“We came up against a team out to prove a point,” said Smith.
3. Cooper Cronk
2. Cameron Smith
1. Josh Hoffman