NRL: Kiwi wing William Warbrick shines in Melbourne Storm win over NRL-leading Brisbane Broncos

  • 12/05/2023

Melbourne Storm have bounced back to claim a 24-16 win over high-flying Brisbane Broncos in a chaotic clash at AAMI Park on Thursday night.

In a game that featured four sinbinnings - three of which went against the Broncos - the Storm responded to their lacklustre defeat to South Sydney Rabbitohs courtesy of impressive displays from Kiwis Jahrome Hughes and William Warbrick, who nabbed two tries.

Coach Craig Bellamy singled NZ sevens convert Warbrick out for praise after the game.

"He's come on really well," said Bellamy. "He's a big strong guy and he runs the ball hard.

"He's still learning a few nuances about the game, the finer points I suppose, but he's doing a great job for us at the moment.

"When he gets an opportunity to score, he.s nailing most of them, so he's going really well for us."

The win is the Storm's 13th straight against the Queenslanders, who lost captain Adam Reynolds to a head knock in the first half. The star half was stretchered off the field in a tryline collision contesting the ball.

Warbrick celebrates a try with his teammates.
Warbrick celebrates a try with his teammates. Photo credit: Getty Images

After Munster had put Harry Grant into a hole from close range to open the scoring, the Broncos were awarded a penalty try when the referee deemed Grant had pushed Herbie Farnworth in a contest for a ball rolling into the in-goal.

Farnworth was sent to the bin for a professional foul and the Storm quickly made the Broncos pay, with Hughes providing the last pass to put Warbrick over.

In the 51st minute, Storm and ex-Warriors prop Eliesa Katoa looked to be in for all money, only to be denied from behind by Ezra Mam, who dislodged the ball as the forward was over the line.

Controversy struck a few minutes later, when the Broncos' Patrick Carrigan was sent to the sin-bin for a hip-drop tackle on Nelson Asofa-Solomona.

Again, the Storm swiftly made the Broncos pay for their indiscretion, with Hughes laying on a chip kick that was tapped back for Olam to score. 

With five minutes to play, Hughes provided the final nail in the Broncos' coffin with a pinpoint crossfield kick for Warbrick to grab his second try and increase the lead to 24-10.

Cory Paix grabbed a consolation try for the Broncos with two minutes remaining, which was followed by a scuffle that resulted in both Brisbane's Tom Flegler and Melbourne's Aaron Pene being marched.

Broncos coach Kevin Walters resisted any criticism of referee Todd Smith after the game but was clearly displeased with how his team were treated.

Incidentally, Smith is the same referee who sent two NZ Warriors players to the sinbin against the Panthers last weekend.

"Were they fair sin bins? I won't make any comment because my contract's not big enough to pay the fine," said Walters.

The result sees the Storm climb into third place on the NRL ladder, while the Broncos remain in first.