They may have won admirers but Brisbane still lost again as a merciless Melbourne stormed home to seal a 46-8 NRL victory at a wet Suncorp Stadium.
The Storm overcame rare Broncos resistance before running in six unanswered second half tries with Jahrome Hughes, Josh Addo-Carr and Tino Fa’asuamaleaui completing doubles in their fifth straight win on Friday night.
The Broncos slipped to their eighth loss in nine games but there were finally encouraging signs after showing some welcome fight.
It took a classic halftime spray from coach Craig Bellamy to finally fire up Melbourne who extended their remarkable record at Suncorp Stadium.
They have not lost to Brisbane since 2009 and have now claimed their 13th straight victory in Queensland.
But the lopsided scoreline belied an at times absorbing arm wrestle in front of 9710 sodden fans that won over the likes of Broncos critic, Immortal Andrew Johns.
“It’s great to see the Broncos play with some emotion. The scoreline doesn’t represent the contest that this has been,” he told Nine Network.
Bellamy admitted there was a touch of complacency after the Storm (9-2 record) turned it around against a third-last Broncos to be provisional ladder leaders.
“I thought we were very fortunate to lead at halftime,” Bellamy said.
“The Broncos outplayed us, out-enthused us in the first half and a bit in the second half as well.
“The Broncos deserved a closer (full-time) score to be honest.”
Ex-Broncos assistant Bellamy added: “I do feel for them (Broncos). Their effort was pretty good but when a couple of things went our way (in second half) their lack of confidence took hold.”
Broncos coach Anthony Seibold was ruing the blowout after the promising first half.
“That (first half) is as good as we have been since the resumption from COVID…(but) we were nowhere near good enough in the second half,” he said.
“That’s what hurts, we let it get away from us.”
No one rated Brisbane a chance after copping a last round 48-0 thrashing from Wests Tigers, with one bookmaker rating the home side as $10 outsiders.
And the early signs were ominous when Addo-Carr scored in just the second minute after a Cameron Smith kick comically rolled between fullback Anthony Milford’s legs.
But the Broncos grabbed an 8-6 lead in the 20th minute through a Herbie Farnworth try as the new look spine of young halfback Tom Dearden, five-eighth Brodie Croft and new No.1 Milford clicked.
Melbourne held on for a 14-8 half-time lead before the floodgates opened.
Storm fullback Ryan Papenhuyzen chimed in with one of Melbourne’s eight tries, setting up another and running 238m with a staggering nine tackle busts.
Fa’asuamaleaui ran 165m with six tackle busts to help himself to a try scoring double.
Brisbane prop Payne Haas again tried hard with 161m and four tackle busts.
Broncos forward Tevita Pangai was sin-binned for a professional foul in the 69th minute.
Melbourne playmaker Cameron Munster (HIA) left the game in the final 10 minutes.