The Storm came from behind to end a seven match Broncos winning streak with a 32-20 victory at AAMI Park on Friday night.
Brisbane led 16-6 just before halftime but Kiwis halfback Jahrome Hughes laid on a try for Melbourne halves partner Cameron Munster and then crossed himself to level the scores before the home side took control after the interval.
Hughes scored a second try in a five-star performance ahead of next Saturday's homecoming Test in Auckland against Tonga as the Storm dominated the second term.
Despite an impressive performance by a Broncos side missing Adam Reynolds and with a halfback who hadn't played NRL for two years in Tyrone Roberts and a rookie five-eighth in Ezra Mam, they are now in danger of dropping out of the top four.
Match: Storm v Broncos
Round 15 -
Venue: AAMI Park, Melbourne
- The Storm opened the scoring in the eighth minute after Fiji prop Tui Kamikamica, who was a late inclusion in the starting side, crashing over from close range.
- It was then one way traffic as the Broncos piled on three quick-fire tries, which started with stand-in skipper Kurt Capewell throwing an overhead pass from winger Corey Oates to score in the 18th minute after Edrick Lee tapped back a Tyrone Roberts kick.
- Oates got his second try just six minutes later after the Broncos spread the ball quickly through Payne Haas, Ezra Mam, Te Maire Martin and Lee before the winger stepped inside to score.
- Roberts, who was playing his first NRL match for more than two years, then laid on a try for boom winger Selwyn Cobbo in the 27th minute with a cut out pass as the visitors raced to a 16-6 lead.
- The Storm offer opposition teams no respite and just as it seemed the Broncos had their measure they piled on two quick tries through star playmakers Jahrome Hughes and Cameron Munster to level the scores at halftime.
- Munster scored the first after Hughes kicked on the second tackle and Cobbo fumbled the ball as he dived on it and Munster swooped to score with just six minutes remaining to the interval.
- Hughes then made a break, passed inside to Nick Meaney and then backed up to receive a flick pass from his fullback and raced 25 metres to score in the 37th minute.
- Melbourne-raised winger Dean Ieremia then put the Storm back in front when he dived over in the corner to score in the 56th minute after a cut out pass from Munster to Lee created space out wide.
Ieremia slides over to grab the lead
- Ieremia then scored his second try seven minutes later after Munster kicked on the second tackle and the the Melbourne winger pushed Cobbo back in-goal to force a goal line drop-out.
- Just two tackles later, Ieremia was in after Hughes combined with Munster, who linked with Kenny Bromwich before Meaney sent the winger racing for the tryline to open up a 10-point lead.
- Hughes then sealed the win when he dummied before grubbering into the Broncos in-goal and won the race for his own kick five minutes before fulltime.
Hughes can do it!
- Rookie Broncos five-eighth Ezra Mam scored a consolation try three minutes before fulltime to give his side a deserved reward for an impressive effort without Reynolds.
Play of the game
The Storm trailed 16-6 six minutes before halftime when Jahrome Hughes laid on a try for Cameron Munster with a well placed kick and then levelled the scores with a spectacular try on his own.
Hughes started the movement when he burst through the defence, passed inside to fullback Nick Meaney and then backed up to receive a flick pass before sprinting away to score.
Hughes levels it
What they said
"I think everyone knows what I think of Jahrome. His improvement over the last 18 months has been immense and he is up there with any halfback in the competition, I believe. He has got a great kicking game and a great running game. He has got some confidence in his leadership now, as well. I think I've said before I wouldn't swap him for any halfback in the competition,": Storm coach Craig Bellamy.
Storm: Round 15
"The Storm have been good for a long time so you have got to be really good to beat them and we were good tonight but we weren't great. We just fell short. I am not sure the last time Tyrone played in the NRL but it's probably two or three years so for him to come up with a performance like that from him was very good. He has been on a train and trial contract with us for the year. I thought he did a good job," Broncos coach Kevin Walters.
Broncos: Round 15
The Storm travel to Manly to take on the Sea Eagles at 4 Pines Park on the Thursday after Origin II, while the Broncos have three more days respite before their trip to Townsville for a Queensland derby clash with the Cowboys.
Star fullback Ryan Papenhuyzen is expected to return for Melbourne after being forced to delay his return from knee and hamstring injuries due to COVID protocols.
Craig Bellamy will be sweating on the fitness of Maroons five-eighth Cameron Munster, hooker Harry Grant and second-rower Felise Kaufusi, as well as his Kiwis contingent of Jahrome Hughes, Jesse and Kenny Bromwich, Brandon Smith and Nelson Asofa-Solomona.
Melbourne centre Justin Olam will also play for the Kumuls against prop Tui Kamikamica's Fiji side.
The break will help Brisbane halfback and captain Adam Reynolds overcome a rib injury suffered in last weekend's defeat of the Raiders, but the Broncos could have a big contingent in Origin.
Prop Payne Haas and centre Kotoni Staggs are expected to retain their spots in the NSW team, while Pat Carrigan, Selwyn Cobbo and Kurt Capewell are almost certainties for the Maroons, while Corey Oates is in contention to replace Xavier Coates.
Te Maire Martin and Jordan Riki are in the Kiwis squad, while Keenan Palasia has been selected for Samoa and David Mead for Papua New Guinea.
Riki was placed on report for a lifting tackle on Dean Ieremia late in the match.