They may be without several big-name players but the Melbourne Storm have shown they can play without them after they demolished the Brisbane Broncos.
Once again led by Nicho Hynes, he would receive support from Brandon Smith as the two pulled all the strings in the win.
The first fifteen minutes were tense as the Broncos did all they could to keep the rampant Storm at bay.
They would crack shortly after, however, when Brandon Smith took a Hynes pass, spotted a gap, evaded some defenders, and coasted away to score.
It would take another fifteen minutes for the Storm to score their second as a Cooper Johns grubber ricocheted off Anthony Milford.
Fortuitously for the Storm, the ricochet went straight to Tui Kamikamica whose hands made the ball look like a cupcake before he grounded it.
Hynes would yet again be the provider for the Storm’s final try of the first half as the overlap found Josh Addo-Carr for his eleventh try of the season.
The second half started dreadfully for the Broncos as a David Mead error saw winger George Jennings pounce to race away and score.
Hynes would not be far away from the action for too long, though, as made a break and found Cooper Johns next to him for his maiden NRL try.
Down but not out, the Broncos showed some resolve when Kobe Hetherington also scored his first NRL try.
He and Jake Turpin combined for the youngster to score before he copped an accidental knee from his teammate and left the field with his head bloodied.
The Storm would regain the ascendancy, though, when Smith threw a lovely cut-out for Hynes to fly through a yawning gap.
Just minutes later, the Broncos would again hit back through centre Jesse Arthars.
After some miscommunication in the in-goal, Arthars reacted quickest to Anthony Milford’s grubber to score.
Smith then scored a typically hooker’s try to round out the scoring when he burrowed over from close range.
Although the big win was impressive, it was the first-half defence that impressed Storm coach Craig Bellamy.
“I didn’t think it was that impressive to be quite honest, I thought both sides were off a bit,” Bellamy said.
“I thought our defence in the first half won us the game, to be honest.
“The Broncos were down there a fair bit in the first half and I thought they attacked us pretty well as well so I was more happy with that than our attack.”
The Broncos loss was compounded by a suspected MCL strain for key forward Payne Haas whose Origin spot for NSW is now in jeopardy.
Broncos coach Kevin Walters saw one bright spot in the game; the debut of TC Robati, another promising Bronco forward.
“He was the shining light out there,” Walters said.
“We’re very happy to have his signature and he is certainly a player of the future for us and a player right for now based on tonight.”
NRL News Player of the Year
3. Nicho Hynes (MEL)
2. Brandon Smith (MEL)
1. Tui Kamikamica (MEL)