NRL: Storm fall to Cowboys

Maurice Blair of the Storm is challenged by Sandor Earl and David Shillington of the Raiders. Photo / Getty Images.
Maurice Blair of the Storm is challenged by Sandor Earl and David Shillington of the Raiders. Photo / Getty Images.

Melbourne Storm will be sending out their very own bat-signal after falling to their third successive loss, outplayed by North Queensland 20-16 in their NRL match.

The Storm wore special jerseys as a cross-promotion with the new Batman movie 'The Dark Knight Rises' and could have used some superhero help after another shock defeat at AAMI Park.

It's the first time since 2010, when they weren't playing for points, that they have lost three matches in a row and the first time since 2005 that they've lost three in succession at home.

It's also the first time since way back in 2001 that North Queensland have won in Melbourne.

Centre Kane Linnett scored a double, with Cowboys maestro Johnathan Thurston having a hand in both, as well as one scored by Brent Tate.

Melbourne centre Anthony Quinn scored with five minutes left on the clock to close the gap to two points but the home side ran out of time to catch the Cowboys, who also added a late penalty.

Celebrating their halfback Cooper Cronk's 200th NRL game, Melbourne started well enough and were first to score in the 11th minute through their high-flying winger Matt Duffie.

However the visitors hit back just eight minutes later through Linnett's first try, with Thurston and Bowen combining to send the centre over.

The rest of the half belonged to the visitors and they should have led by more than 6-4 at the main break.

The competition leaders showed their grit to hit the front in the 56th minute after dummy half Smith put through a clever grubber into the in-goal which was pounced on by fullback Gareth Widdop.

But the joy for the Melbourne fans was again short-lived with the Cowboys striking back just four minutes later.

Thurston put a kick in and then toed it awkwardly ahead and the Storm's Sisa Waqa slipped with the ball bouncing past and over the tryline, with centre Brent Tate winning to the race to touch down.

Thurston then converted from the sideline for 12-10 lead.

Storm centre Justin O'Neill looked like he'd again give his side the lead when he leapt high to take a Cronk bomb but the ball slipped from his hands as he crashed back to earth.

Instead it was some Thurston magic, with the five-eighth beating Kevin Proctor to find a charging Linnett and converted to give his team the valuable eight-point margin.

North Queensland's only sour note of the night was the loss of winger Ash Graham, who was assisted from the field late in the match with an ankle injury.

-AAP

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