Throwback Thursday: Townsville runaway
Round 2, 2013 – Melbourne turned up in Townsville fresh off their premiership triumph the previous year.
They would face a Cowboys side will plenty to be confident about having just re-signed star playmaker Johnathan Thurston earlier that week.
Coach Neil Henry had also put pen to paper, making him the third longest-serving NRL coach after Craig Bellamy and John Cartwright.
North Queensland had been touted as potential grand finalists throughout pre-season and more than 19,000 fans turned out for their home opener at the newly-named 1300SMILES Stadium.
What they did not realise at the time was that they had indeed brought tickets to the Cooper Cronk show.
It started inside the opening three minutes when a seemingly normal foray up-field turned into a breakaway opportunity for Storm.
Cronk put in a short pass to Ryan Hinchcliffe on the inside, leaving the veteran with 50 metres between him and the try line.
“I put a little ‘in-the-way’ on Matty Bowen and burned him down the sideline to score in the corner,” Hinchcliffe said.
“It was pretty funny, the boys were having a good laugh. I don’t know what happened, I blacked out during it but it was good fun.”
“It was in the second or third minute, I think that’s the reason why I had enough energy to burst through the gap and score because I wasn’t tired from making too many tackles.
“If I was ever going to score a length of the field try it would have to be in the first five minutes I reckon.”