Broncos on the slide as clinical Storm blow them off the park

Cooper Cronk

Billed as a potential match of the round, fans of both sides and in general were expecting a hard-fought, dogged, defensive affair.

It seemed to be starting out that way as both teams traded early blows but were ultimately repelled by sturdy defensive units.

After 15 minutes, however, that all changed and the floodgates opened. Suffering their biggest ever loss at Suncorp Stadium in history, it was the Broncos left to lick their wounds as the Storm put them to the sword.

With 5 tries in 18 minutes, the match was virtually done and dusted before half-time, even if the Broncos managed to grab a late first-half try.

The comprehensive win only strengthens the Storm’s already resolute for and against and for now, moves them to the top of the competition ladder.

For the Broncos, they drop down to sixth and as their form wanes, so too does a potential top four berth.

The game was all about the Storm, though, as Cooper Cronk showed why he is one of the best modern halves in the game with an array of passing and kicking leading to tries.

In total, he finished with four try assists, with the Storm showing no mercy to several of their Origin team-mates.

As the Storm juggernaut rolls on, remarkably, the talk of the town is about Suliasi Vunivalu. Not content with scoring just 1 try in a game, he scored three more tries in the win.

The Broncos will be hoping they can turn it around in coming weeks as they need wins if they are to remain in the eight.

As for the Storm, they have sent a message loud and clear to the rest of the competition. That they are ready to play and are in good nick.

Several concussions resulted in players departing the field and the Storm will have two injury concerns with Jordan McLean (ankle) and Tohu Harris (rib cartilage) not finishing the game.

Returning to Vunivalu, in what is his debut season, the Fijian has 16 tries and is closing in on the 21 tries that Israel Folau scored in his debut season with the club.

“He’s a different type of player to ‘Izzy’ and I’m just really pleased for Suli at the moment,” said Storm captain, Cam Smith.

“He’s been given an opportunity probably earlier than he expected and probably earlier than what we expected for him as well to be playing first grade with us but he’s a wonderful kid.

“He’s very respectful around the place to all the guys that have been there for a long time, to the coaches and he just works hard.

“He has got a lot of natural ability about him but he’s willing to learn every time he gets on the paddock so I’m really pleased for him with the way he’s going at the moment.”

Bellamy also praised the Fijian for his efforts so far this season.

“Suli was outstanding in the air [against the Broncos] but it’s not just kicks he can score tries off either. He’s got a great ability to get over the try-line if it’s off a pass or a run and Marika’s the same,” said coach Craig Bellamy.

Although the end result does not show it, Broncos coach Wayne Bennett thought his side played well given the amount of possession they had.

“You don’t complete at 94 per cent if you aren’t doing something right,” he said.

“I went into half-time knowing what the score was and that I couldn’t change the scoreboard, but I knew we were trying hard and putting in with a lot of effort.

Player of the Game:

3. Cooper Cronk
2. Suliasi Vunivalu
1. Jesse Bromwich

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