Melbourne Storm were too strong today for Brisbane Broncos, at AAMI Park, holding on to win 22-12 in the opening game of the NRL season, despite two second-half tries by Broncos winger Corey Oates that brought the Queensland side to within four points of their hosts.
The Storm dominated the early proceedings, with tries by Jahrome Hughes and Curtis Scott in the first twelve minutes, with Storm skipper Cameron Smith converting the second try.
The Broncos had suffered an early blow after five minutes, with the loss of speedster James Roberts due to a lower back injury that ended his match.
The Storm, with Nelson Asofa-Solomona prominent, came near to scoring again several times in the first half, but turned round only ten points ahead. Kenny Bromwich extended their lead with a converted try on 49 minutes, before two tries from Oates threatened to upset the applecart for the Storm, who haven’t lost the opening game of a season since 2001.
Their nerves were steadied, however, when Jesse Bromwich scored from 25 metres out after 69 minutes and Smith’s conversion restored a ten-point advantage.
The game was played in front of more than 16,000 spectators, and there will be plenty of attention paid to the TV viewing figures after the `close season from hell’ the NRL has suffered off the field, since the 2018 Grand Final.
Storm: Tries – Hughes, Scott, Kaufusi, J Bromwich; Goals – C Smith 3
Broncos: Tries – Oates 2; Goals – Isaako 2
Reports and photographs from all the weekend’s NRL action will feature in Monday’s edition of League Express.