Melbourne Storm 14 def Brisbane Broncos 6

The Melbourne Storm again failed to truly click into gear today; as a spare parts Brisbane Broncos side pushed them all the way at the graveyard in Melbourne.

The last 3 weeks haven’t been the best for the Melbourne Storm as they rest players in their roster and try and find some motivation – as they sit high atop the NRL Table.

The desperate Broncos toiled hard today; with little play making ability centre field – they didn’t trouble the score sheet too much; but grit, passion and rigid defence saw them frustrate Melbourne all day.

In attack the Storm are tending to move the ball too quickly to the edges, probably relying on skillful men such as Issy Folau or Matt King too much. Melbourne rarely rumbled through the middle, however when they did – Cameron Smith and Co. were able to get their nice role going and the whole side looked more dangerous.

Wayne Bennett and his Broncos deserve high praise for fielding a highly committed and eager outfit; given their horror injury toll at present. The Broncos face a tough run home in the race to the NRL Finals and they already know how dire the situation is.

The positives for Melbourne remain their impressive defence also. The Storm may have struggled for ideas and line breaks in attack; but their defence right across the park is worthy of high praise. They edge defenders snuffed out a few dangerous Broncos raids and their line speed and communication is good; always working as a single line.

The concern for Craig Bellamy would be his teams overall mental feel as the finals approach. Previously smashing teams by big margins, the Storm are struggling to put teams away now and can’t seem to adapt to arm wrestle type matches. When teams are physical, dirty and in your face – Melbourne struggles. A Bulldogs match up in the finals would seriously be the worst outcome for the Storm – as their brutal style would least suit the Storm.

The tests will continue to come for Melbourne; they face the Eels, Bulldogs and Titans in the weeks ahead. All mammoth encounters for supposedly the even money favourites for the NRL Premiership in 2007.

Today’s result would give Brisbane an inkling of hope, that they could make stagger into the finals in spot no. 8 – if results go their way. The Broncos have 2 home games coming up; the Bulldogs then Raiders and they travel away to meet the Eels in the final round of NRL 2007. They should take 2 points from remaining games at least – giving them an outside chance.

By ricky

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