Melbourne celebrate the match-clinching try by Jahrome Hughes (2nd right) against Brisbane. Image by Joel Carrett/AAP PHOTOS
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Storm roar home to deny Broncos in Melbourne thriller

Melissa Woods April 4, 2024

The Storm have continued Brisbane’s misery in Melbourne, roaring home to clinch a 34-32 thriller in their Thursday night NRL battle at AAMI Park.

Melbourne trailed by four points with six minutes left on the clock but a try from Tyran Wishart put his team ahead before gun halfback Jahrome Hughes crossed for a 34-26 lead.

Brisbane’s towering Ben Te Kura, making his debut, then crashed over in the 77th minute to set up a grandstand finish but the home side was able to hang on.

While the Broncos ended a 14-game losing streak with their semi-final thumping of the Storm at Suncorp Stadium last year, they are winless at AAMI Park since 2016.

Compounding their disappointment, skipper Adam Reynolds was unable to return after halftime due to a hamstring injury.

 Broncos skipper Adam Reynolds (c) was reduced to a spectator for the second half. Image by Joel Carrett/AAP PHOTOS 

Coach Kevin Walters was dismayed by his team’s defence, despite missing some key men including first-choice prop Payne Haas.

“We probably didn’t deserve to win in the end, just a couple of soft tries there,” Walters said.

“There’s plenty of effort and I can’t fault them there with their effort … we just weren’t quite there defensively tonight.

“That’s what the most annoying thing is – there’s lots to like but we came here to win and we didn’t.”

Storm coach Craig Bellamy said he didn’t know what to make of the match.

“It’s probably one of the strangest games I’ve ever seen or been involved in,” the veteran mentor said.

“I imagine the crowd and the people watching on TV would have quite enjoyed it but we were were probably a bit disappointed as in the first half we had the better of play but didn’t take advantage of that.”

Playing out a pulsating contest, it appeared that Brisbane would overcome the loss of star halfback Reynolds to take their third win of the season.

Reynolds, who set up a first half try for winger Jesse Arthars, was in tears in the sheds at halftime after he limped off the field.

Even without Reynolds calling the shots, Brisbane, who were ahead 18-16 at halftime, still threw everything at Melbourne with electric five-eighth Mam scoring a brilliant try in each half.

Both sides scored three times in the first half with Eli Katoa crossing twice for the Storm, charging over the top of Mam in one barnstorming run.

Melbourne winger Xavier Coates scored after taking a hanger off a Hughes kick while Mam’s first effort was also part of the highlight reel when he touched down after collecting a perfectly-weighted kick from flying winger Arthars.

Ezra Mam
 Ezra Mam scores the first of two brilliant tries for the Broncos. Image by Joel Carrett/AAP PHOTOS 

The Broncos will be ruing a late missed opportunity when Arthars butchered a certain try in the 63rd minute when he dropped a Selwyn Cobbo pass with the line wide open.

They jumped on a penalty five minutes later with Kotoni Staggs booting Brisbane four points clear.

But the margin wasn’t enough to deny Melbourne.

Wishart barrelled across the line, with the bunker over-ruling referee Ashley Klein, and Hughes put up a bomb which Brisbane back Corey Oates bizarrely booted towards the try-line for the Storm No.7 to pounce for his late try.