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 on Friday night.
The Storm overcame some rare Broncos resistance to run in six unanswered second half tries with halfback Jahrome Hughes, winger Josh Addo-Carr and bench forward Tino Faasuamaleaui completing doubles to skip to their fifth straight win.
The Broncos slipped to their eighth loss in nine games but there were finally encouraging signs for long suffering fans after the hosts at least showed some welcome fight.
The Storm extended their remarkable record at Suncorp Stadium where they have not lost to Brisbane since 2009 while claiming their 13th straight victory in Queensland.
But the lopsided scoreline belied an at times absorbing arm wrestle in front of 9,710 sodden fans that won over scathing Broncos critics such as 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,” Johns told Nine Network.
No one rated Brisbane a chance on Friday after copping their latest thrashing, a last round 48-0 touch-up 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 refused to drop their heads, grabbing an 8-6 lead in the 20th minute as the new look spine clicked with young halfback Tom Dearden, five-eighth Brodie Croft and new No.1 Milford impressing.
Melbourne held on for a 14-8 half-time lead and whatever coach Craig Bellamy said at the break worked as the floodgates opened in the second half.
“We took a while to get going. I’m not sure if it was complacency. I was really disappointed with our first half,” Storm captain Cameron Smith said.
“Belly Ache (Bellamy) said plenty at halftime. His mouth was moving pretty quickly.”
Brisbane’s cause wasn’t helped when forward Tevita Pangai was sin-binned for a professional foul in the 69th minute.
Melbourne playmaker Cameron Munster didn’t finish the game after coming off for an HIA in the final 10 minutes.