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Normal programming resumed at AAMI Park with the Storm beating the Broncos 34-32 to launch Round 5 - but they were pushed all the way in an entertaining and end-to-end match.

However, the biggest news of the night was the loss of Broncos captain Adam Reynolds who did not return for the second half, ruled out of the game at halftime with a suspected hamstring strain.

Following on from his kicking masterclass last week against the Cowboys, Reynolds was in good form with boot in the first half and if he is to be out for an extended period, it will be a big blow for the Broncos. 

Reynolds limps off for half-time

A hectic first half saw some free-flowing rugby league, with both sides scoring three tries apiece, with only a wayward conversion attempt from Nick Meaney giving the visitors an 18-16 lead at the break.

The first try came to the Broncos against the run of play, with Broncos five-eighth Ezra Mam pinching a Storm ball to run to open space before eventually setting up Deine Mariner for the opening try of the match.

It didn't take long for the Storm to respond, with Eliesa Katoa crashing over for the first of his two tries of the half. 

Xavier Coates Try

Xavier Coates then followed up by continuing to impress the AAMI Park crowd which tonight totalled 20,638 with a great try, leaping head and shoulders above Mariner and Kotoni Staggs to bring down a targeted Jahrome Hughes kick.

The Broncos then went back-to-back with Mam crossing after a great kick infield from Jesse Arthars, who then was rewarded with his own try.

Jesse Arthars Try

The second half was a close contest for 10 minutes, before Mam was again amongst the action, sprinting onto a Billy Walters kick with a perfect bounce, racing up the middle of the field to go in under the posts to score. 

Storm winger Will Warbrick then scored to keep things tight, before the Broncos opted to take a penalty goal to extend their lead to 26-22 with just over 10 minutes to play.

However, a hard-running Tyran Wishart was able to lock up the scores when he crashed over the line, but he had to convince the Bunker he got the ball down between the Broncos defenders.

Tyran Wishart Try

Meaney's conversion attempt was successful, putting the Storm back into the lead 28-26 with just over five minutes remaining, before Hughes celebrated his return to play with a try to seal the win.

Ben Te Kura, Brisbane's big debutant, also celebrated in his first outing with a powerful performance to score the 11th and final try of the match.

The Broncos came remarkably close to an upset and put in an enormous performance especially after losing their captain and halfback Reynolds which forced a reshuffle. However, they were left to rue some missed opportunities, having come close to scoring on number of occasions, including knocking the ball on with the line open.

Match Snapshot

  • Broncos captain Adam Reynolds did not return in the second half, ruled out with a suspected hamstring strain.
  • This match was the debut for young Broncos forward Ben Te Kura, the tallest player in the competition, standing at 205 centrimetres. 
  • There were three big inclusions for the Storm with Cameron Munster (groin), Jahrome Hughes (suspension) and Christian Welch (concussion) all back on deck for the match, meaning it was the first time the first choice spine of Ryan Papenhuyzen, Munster, Hughes and Harry Grant played together for 627 days, which was back in Round 18 in 2022. 
  • Melbourne forward Jack Howarth made his second NRL appearance.
  • Storm winger Xavier Coates has scored 25 tries in 21 games at AAMI Park.
  • Storm forward Trent Loiero was put on report early in the second half for a dangerous tackle, with Broncos forward Jordan Riki also put on report mid-way through the half for high contact.
  • The Broncos have not won at AAMI Park since 2016.
  • The Storm claimed their 13th consecutive win at AAMI Park.
  • Corey Oates and Tyson Smoothy remain the only Broncos players who have won in Melbourne.
  • Kotoni Staggs stepped up to take on the kicking duties for conversions and penalties in the absence of Reynolds.
  • A crowd of 20,638 attended the Thursday night match.

Play of the Game 

Broncos five-eighth Ezra Mam was one of the players of the match and was amongst the key plays for his side throughout the match. While it was in a losing effort, his second half try was one of the more satisfying to watch, sprinting onto a Billy Walters kick that bounced up perfectly for him, bursting through the middle of the field to attack the ball and go in under the posts to score. 

Ezra Mam 2nd Try

What They Said

Storm: Round 5

"It was one of the strangest games I have even seen or been involved in, I imagine the crowd and the people at home watching on TV would have enjoyed it, the lead changed at times and they got ahead by eight at one stage and that was probably the biggest lead anyone had.

"We are probably a little bit disappointed, we especially the first half, we probably had the better of play, but we didn't probably take as much advantage out of that as we should have." - Storm coach Craig Bellamy

Broncos: Round 5

"The feeling in the sheds is not great, but we probably didn't deserve to win in the end, couple of soft tries there, but that's footy. When you score 34 points and concede 36, you can't expect to win a game of footy when they score that many tries ... not acceptable. There's plenty of effort and I can't fault them there with their effort, we lost Adam at halftime so that was a pretty big disruption for us, but we just weren't quite there defensively tonight and that's the most annoying thing." - Broncos coach Kevin Walters

Broncos skipper Adam Reynolds also provided an update on his injury.

Reynolds provides update on his injury

"It just tightened up in that first half, didn't feel too good at halftime, but get back to Brisbane, get a scan and go from there. I felt it early on in the game and it gradually got worst." - Broncos skipper Adam Reynolds

What's Next

Next week, the Storm remain in Melbourne and host the Bulldogs in Friday's early match.

The Broncos play in the later Friday night match and will host the Dolphins in their Queensland derby at Suncorp Stadium. 

Acknowledgement of Country

Melbourne Storm respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.