BRISBANE's forward injury was intensified after key wrench Andrew McCullough suffered an unpleasant elbow defeat in Broncos's crushing 34-20 tap to Storm at the Suncorp Stadium.
On a night of high drama, premiere celebrated their luck, Billy Slater takes advantage of a controversial refereeing call when the champion's fullback produced a two-test screen to break the hearts of Brisban.
But in the middle of the Slater championship, Broncos returned to grate the sight of McCullough, undoubtedly their most important player,
BRONCOS V STORM: Five Things We Learned  With Brisbane after 18-4, McCullough was struck by friendly fire, colliding with prop Joe Ofahengaue in a tackle. He could get up to two months on the sidelines in a body battle for a Broncos side, which last week lost origin-back roger Matt Gillett to a broken neck.
Brisbane's title jumped last season's match when McCullough hit his ACL and the club's hooking stocks are already thin, with understudy Jake Turpin sidelined with a broken ankle.
In order to compose their situation, Brisbane could be without Matt Lodge next week after the dummy was reported to a dangerous throw in the 75th minute. 19659003] "I really do not know what we do," said Broncos coach Wayne Bennett of his hooking options. "We are going to look this week … I do not think Sam Thaiday will play there again."
Do not be fooled by scoreline. It was a battle performance of Broncos in a magnificent football game, but Slater's class and angles Suliasi Vunivalu and Josh Addo-Carr were crucial, continued Melbourne's unbeaten race at Suncorp since 2009.
But the win was not without controversy, With Brisbane apparently robbed after Slater was awarded his first try in the tenth minute after he fell kicked through the line.
Many thought Slater simply knocked on when he kicked . Even the fullback shook his head as he touched, but the video judge blinked inexplicably the green light that triggered a torrent of boos.
NRL claimed that the decision was correct and said that a player does not have to try a field goal to score an attempt from a drop-kick.
However, the assessment went down as a lead balloon with Bennett, who asked if Slater ever had control over the ball.
The incident triggered a three-test blitz for 12 minutes from Storm, which accused an 18-4 half-time team and received a furious Broncos fightback after the break.
On one night of highest football, Broncos's twenty-fifth Anthony Milford went to villain. He kept Brisbane alive with a smart kick-and-regather 66 minutes, just allowing Vunivalu to hit a Will Chambers grubber minutes later to bury Broncos.
"We had some great moments," said Bennett. "The last 10 minutes we were right there, but their last two tries were unacceptable."
MELBOURNE 34 (J Addo-Carr 2 B Slater 2 W Chambers S Vunivalu tries C Smith 5 goals) bt BRISBANE 20 (A Glenn J Isaako A Milford J Roberts tries J Isaako 2 goals) at Suncorp Stadium. Judge: Gavin Badger, Ashley Klein. Audience: 32,709.