Melbourne’s stunning round one record under coach Craig Bellamy remains intact after the Storm held off a resurgent Brisbane to open the NRL season with a 22-12 win at AAMI Park on Thursday night.
Heading into the match the Storm hadn’t lost in the opening round in the 16 years Bellamy had been at the helm, and in the first half that looked likely to stretch to another year with the Broncos disappointing.
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But two tries to Brisbane winger Corey Oates within two minutes midway through the second stanza turned the game on its head.
Oates’ second effort couldn’t have been simpler with Melbourne prop Jesse Bromwich attempting an unlikely offload and throwing the ball straight into his arms for him to scamper through to close the lead to four points.
But six minutes later Bromwich was back in the good books with a barnstorming run from 15 metres out to score his team’s fourth try of the night and from there they weren’t troubled.
The 10-point win that maintains Bellamy’s flawless round one record had fans hailing the master coach after the game.
The execution of the Melbourne Storm has always been brilliant. Craig Bellamy’s ability to have his team execute is amazing. What a coach.
— Ryan O'Connell (@RyanOak) March 14, 2019
Is Craig Bellamy the best coach across all codes in the land? Has to be in the conversation.
— Andy (@Suburbia3121) March 14, 2019
Points from tonight's match: Craig Bellamy is a master coach and one of the best of any code in Australia at present; Billy Slater will be missed but Storm will more than cope; it's lovely to have NRL back for 2019; and Matt Lodge is still a dirty grub. #NRLStormBroncos
— Mindy Pawsey (@MKPS001) March 14, 2019
Craig Bellamy is Australia’s version of Bill Belichick. Loses generational players and they are replaced with ease #NRLStormBroncos
— Rohanct (@RohanCT) March 14, 2019
@NRL Thursday Night Football Season 2019 Opener.
Full Time Score: #MelbourneStorm 22-12 #BrisbaneBroncos
That was a brilliant display by the mighty Storm 17 win in a row under Craig Bellamy in Round 1, go the mighty Storm. ⚡️⚡️⚡️💜💜💜 pic.twitter.com/LmEZrGtppS
— David Li (@Dave2307) March 14, 2019
— Dylan Matthews (@DylanMatthews91) March 14, 2019
The first of their tries was scored by Jahrome Hughes, who impressed in his first outing as the replacement for retired superstar fullback Billy Slater.
Oates got past him for both of his tries but Hughes still looked the part.
Hughes’ try came in the third minute not long after Brisbane were penalised as prop Matt Lodge laid out Storm playmaker Cameron Munster after he kicked.
Lodge could find himself in trouble with the NRL match review panel with the hit appearing to come late.
Just after the restart Brisbane lost centre James Roberts, who clutched at his back as he was assisted to the change-rooms.
Munster was one of Melbourne’s best, with his kicking game effective compared to Broncos halves Kodi Nikorima and Anthony Milford.
Brisbane will be buoyed by the return of Matt Gillett, who topped their tackle count with 50 in his new position as lock in his first NRL game back since fracturing his neck in round five last year.