Player ratings: savage reality check for weak Broncos
THUD! That unnerving sound you heard on Friday night was the Brisbane Broncos being brought back to earth by the ruthless and relentless Melbourne Storm.
Talk about a savage reality check.
After beating the Titans, Bulldogs, Sharks and sharing the points with the Warriors in the past four weeks, this was Brisbane's big test.
But the Broncos failed. Failed miserably. They failed so badly that if it were a school exam, their parents would have been called into the principal's office to be quizzed about how things were at home.
The table-topping Melbourne love playing at Suncorp Stadium and they love bashing up the Broncos.
So it was a perfect Storm (boom-tish) that confronted Brisbane, who looked several classes below the visitors.
ANTHONY MILFORD - 5
The kind of night that fullbacks have nightmares about. A few times he grabbed the ball in his own in-goal, only to be surrounded by a sea of white and purple jerseys. Stood firm when a rampaging Storm winger Suliasi Vunivalu tried to run over the top of him.
COREY OATES - 4
Quiet night for the Suncorp Stadium specialist with 82 running metres and two tackle breaks. Prevented one Storm try with a desperate dive to ground the ball.
KOTONI STAGGS - 2
A horror night. Two kick-offs sailed over the dead-ball line. Was part of the right edge that was terrorised by Melbourne ALL NIGHT, missing four tackles and producing a few bad reads. Threw a wild pass from dummy-half that turned the ball over and led to Melbourne's first try of the second-half romp. Scored a late try but he owed the Broncos more than that.
XAVIER COATES - 4
The young fella had a very low-key night in just his third NRL game. Was probably grateful the Storm were sending all their significant traffic down the other side of the field. Five runs for 37 metres and three tackles.
JAMAYNE ISAAKO - 4
Part of the right edge that should book a session with the team shrink. Missed a tackle on Josh Addo-Carr (not the first or the last to let The Fox get away) that led to a Melbourne try. Ran for 68 metres.
DARIUS BOYD - 3
Jahrome Hughes slipped past him with ease to score Melbourne's first try of the second half. Offered virtually nothing in attack - one run for seven metres. Made 16 tackles, missed three. Had zero tackle breaks, zero line breaks, zero line-break assists, zero try assists. Just not enough input for a captain or a starting five-eighth.
JAKE TURPIN - 4
Kicked OK (nine kicks for 297m) but was not a factor with ball in hand. Melbourne sent their big forwards in his direction for the 80m and kept cashing in.
MATT LODGE - 6
Ran for 129m and made 28 tackles with four tackle breaks and two offloads. Gave away a couple of penalties and made two errors too but at least he was showing some fight and trying to provide some resistance.
ANDREW MCCULLOUGH - 4
Injured early and replaced by Segeyaro. Brisbane missed his defensive work in the middle of the ground as the Storm waltzed up the centre of the field.
PAYNE HAAS - 6
It's strange to say a night with 151 running metres and 31 tackles was a tiny bit underwhelming, but the big unit has set the bar very, very high. Not the same impact he had last week as Melbourne sent plenty of numbers at him with every hit-up.
DAVID FIFITA - 5.5
Looked reasonably dangerous in attack compared to most of his teammates with two tackle breaks in his 120 running metres. Made 15 tackles.
ALEX GLENN - 4.5
Returned to the more familiar environment of the back row following the withdrawal of injury-magnet Matt Gillett. Did plenty of work in defence (28 tackles) and went on the odd dart (57 running metres) but relatively quiet overall.
TOM FLEGLER - 4
The big, blonde, bustling backrower had a night to forget with three hit-ups for 26m and 18 tackles. Not the only Broncos forward to get steamrolled. He had plenty of mates in that department.
JAMES SEGEYARO - 5
Missed a team-high five tackles but made 29 after being thrown into the action early with McCullough off the field. Made Brisbane's solitary line-break to set-up Staggs' try.
JOE OFAHENGAUE - 4.5
Not the usual impact off the bench but Brisbane were going backwards under a purple tsunami as he made 72 running metres and 18 tackles
RHYS KENNEDY - 4
He and McCullough were the only Broncos to NOT miss a tackle. Just the two hit-ups and 12 tackles in limited game time.
PATRICK CARRIGAN - 4.5
Had a night out against the Titans but found the going harder against the schoolyard bullies of the NRL. Always willing with his six runs for 54 and 16 tackles.