NRL Round 15 – Match 3 Results: Melbourne Storm 53 v 12 North Queensland Cowboys

In another embarrassing loss for the struggling Queensland club, the Cowboys were thrashed 53 – 12 by Melbourne at AAMI Park on Saturday.

North Queensland have now won just one of their last five matches, when they beat the Raiders 16 – 8 in Round 14 and are at the very bottom of the ladder on 10 competition points along with the Bulldogs.

It was an important victory for Melbourne who were coming off two consecutive losses including their huge 38 – 6 defeat by the Roosters the previous week.

In an upsetting 80 minutes of footy for Thurston and crew, the Cowboys managed just two tries in the face of Melbourne’s 10 try annihilation of the North Queenslanders.

The Storms’ domination included a double to Matthew Duffie who scored the first try of the match eight minutes in and then got another in the 69th minute, and a hat-trick by their other young winger Justin O’Neill, playing in just his second NRL match, who got in two fast four-pointers just four minutes apart in the 18th and 22nd minutes before his final try in the 65th minute.

It was also a big match for five-eighth Brett Finch who had a hand in all three of O’Neill’s tries during his historic 250th NRL match.

Duffie and O’Neill gave Melbourne a comfortable early lead and Greg Inglis’s three successful conversion attempts saw the Storm in front 18 – nil after 24 minutes.

The Cowboys were simply outclassed and Melbourne continued their brilliant attacking with one final first half try by Greg Inglis in the 28th minute, who backed up from Origin brilliantly, intercepting a pass from a Cowboy dummy half and sprinting down the entire length of the field to score.

Cameron Smith, who took over kicking duties from Inglis after the star indigenous player corked his thigh and didn’t return for the second half, converted and then just when it looked like the Storm would go to the break 24 in front of a still scoreless North Queensland, James Tamou opened the Cowboy’s account with a 39th minute try converted by Thurston so the visitors trailed by a still achievable 18 points.

In the second half any hope of a Cowboys comeback was quickly put to bed, as Melbourne ran away with another six unanswered tries. Jeff Lima kicked things off five minutes back from the break, followed four minutes later by Billy Slater. Slater also managed a double scoring their final try with a minute left on the clock. More gloss was added to the score by Cooper Cronk’s 62nd try, O’Neill completing his hat trick and Duffie getting his second.

North Queensland were able to get in one other try by Shannon Gallant in the 52nd minute and Thurston’s kick gave them a total of 12 points, which added little respectability to the score with the Storm finishing up with 58 points.

But despite the loss the Cowboys still have one up over the Storm this season, as Melbourne have saved North Queensland from finishing last on the ladder thanks to their continuous salary cap breaches and subsequent stripping of all competition points this season.

This week the Cowboys could actually give what’s left of their fans a home game victory when they host the Sharks, and the Storm will play the Rabbitohs on Saturday. The best place to go to bet on either of these great games is Ladbrokes.com.au!