Competition - NRL
Round - Finals Week 1
Teams – Melbourne Storm v North Queensland Cowboys
Date –    10th of September 2016
Venue – AAMI Park, Melbourne VIC
Photographer – Brett Crockford
Description –

Four straight sets, four straight times the purple wall said ‘No’.

Storm showcased their trademark defence in their 16-10 Qualifying final win over the Cowboys on Saturday night.

The crucial moment arrived in the 20th minute when North Queensland forced their first goal line drop out of the game.

Melbourne then spent the next eight minutes defending off their own line, repelling four consecutive line drop-outs as they showed why they ended the home and away season as the number one ranked defence in the competition.

Storm began the game controlling the football with 60% possession but when the time came to perform up the other end, they were well and truly ready.

“When the tied did turn, and it was always going to turn, that was the defining moment for me,” Craig Bellamy said.

“When Thurston got about three or four line drop outs we had four sets there on our try line and we didn’t buckle.

“For me that sent a message that if anyone comes to attack our try line we are going to grit our teeth and defend it… we pretty much did that for most of the game.”

Storm lead for most of the game but never by more than six points as the Cowboys continued to ask questions of the home side.

The answers were there though with the finally one coming with a minute to play as Cameron Munster collected a high ball under a mountain of pressure to seal the win.

“I am really proud of the way they controlled the game and really proud of the effort they’ve put in,” Bellamy said.

“To go to another prelim is a real pat on the back for all our players for the job they’ve done this year… tonight I thought they went to another level.”

Storm will now play either the Raiders or Bulldogs/Panthers in two weeks time at AAMI Park.