Tough calls hurt Broncos as Storm triumph
A NUMBER of questionable refereeing decisions has seen the Broncos fall to their sixth loss of the season, after they let slip a halftime lead to go down 32-16 to a defiant Storm side.
Brisbane will be licking their wounds today, after a strong first-half performance was not enough to hold out Cameron Smith and his men in Melbourne on Sunday.
The Broncos went into the sheds with a 12-8 lead at the break and looked fired up to pull off an upset.
But a barnstorming Melbourne side and a number of dubious refereeing calls saw them return home without the much-needed two points.
The most hurtful decision to Brisbane's campaign came just nine minutes out from full-time when Broncos defenders pushed towering winger Suliasi Vunivalu into the in-goal.
Lead referee Ben Cummins ruled however that it was a second effort, but a similar tackle on Darius Boyd from Josh Addo-Carr earlier in the match went without a penalty.
Brisbane skipper Boyd could be seen arguing with Cummins, as the away side had just scored through Jordan Kahu and had all the momentum to chase down Melbourne's 20-16 lead.
But the penalty went against the Broncos and the Storm worked their way downfield for Vunivalu to score in the corner.
The decision followed two more controversial second-half calls against the Broncos, including Corey Oates getting penalised for a loose carry when the ball was clearly stripped in the 49th minute.
Hooker Andrew McCullough was then deemed to have knocked on in the play the ball five minutes later, in another questionable ruling.
But even with the tough calls, Brisbane proved to be their own worst enemies after Melbourne's stand-in fullback Jahrome Hughes extended their lead in the dying minutes to hand his side the final 32-16 victory.
The Storm came out fired up in the second half and it was just too much for the Broncos to handle.
Brisbane did start strongly, led by Boyd who clearly had a message for Queensland coach Kevin Walters after being overlooked for a spot in Origin I.
Boyd scored the first try of the match and also played a hand in Jamayne Isaako's four-pointer.
Meanwhile, the Broncos will sweat on judiciary results today after young forward Tevita Pangai Jr was placed on report for dangerous conduct against Nelson Asofa-Solomona in the 74th minute.
Pangai Jr came into a tackle on the giant Melbourne forward and appeared to make contact with the head.
MELBOURNE 32 (J Hughes F Kaufusi C Munster Y Tonumaipea S Vunivalu tries C Smith 6 goals) bt BRISBANE 16 (D Boyd J Isaako J Kahu tries J Isaako 2 goals) at AAMI Park. Referee: Ben Cummins, Matt Noyen. Crowd: 17,006