The NRL season has kicked off with a bang with the Melbourne Storm running riot at AAMI Park to whet the appetites of footy fans after a particularly gruelling summer.
Brisbane crumbled under the pressure of the league heavyweights in the first half, going without a try as the Storm ferociously defended their 17-year first round winning streak.
An initial botched pass near the line in the Storm's first set suggested the home side were taking their time warming into the season. But a sensational collection of offloads on the left flank saw the Storm over the line with fullback Jahrome Hughes doing the damage.
The 24-year-old had big shoes to fill after the departure of club legend Billy Slater and didn't disappoint with the first try of the season in the first five minutes. Veteran hooker Cameron Smith scrambled his first conversion and couldn't add the two from the sideline.
Controversial Brisbane prop Matt Lodge was in hot water early after taking out kicker Cameron Munster's legs at the end of a Storm set. The 23-year-old was subsequently booed by the fiery Melbourne crowd as he copped the first penalty of the season.
NRL great Willie Mason weighed in on the ugly moment on Twitter, unleashing on Lodge's low blow.
"I'm all for kick pressure, but f*** that dirty shit off!! Could of blown his knee out!! Get that out of our game @NRL zero tolerance!" the former NSW forward tweeted.
Origin centre James Roberts was in the wars as well, copping a match-ending back injury early in the match which left him limping off the ground and potentially in doubt for the following round.
"There's Roberts off the field, we saw him struggling when Hughes scored," he said.
"The twists and turns that take you through a rugby league season — it's started early for Brisbane. Five and a bit minutes in and their star centre is off the field and the early indication is not good."
It got worse for the Broncos minutes later when centre Jack Bird let the ball loose in a crunching tackle from Suliasi Vunivalu, opening up a massive gap down the line for Curtis Scott to run away and add another four to the board.
Melbourne struck gold shortly after the halftime break, this time with Kenny Bromwich charging over the line thanks to a perfectly timed pass from Munster on the line, taking the Storm to a dominant 16-0 for the final half hour.
Brisbane eventually came up with some strong ball midway through the second half with a play involving the entire backline resulting in their first try of the season, courtesy of winger Corey Oates who plonked the ball over on the left flank.
The 24-year-old layered the pressure on two minutes later and made it a double, sensationally capitalising on a scattered defensive line after an offload from Jack Bird. Jamayne Isaako was on form with the boot and punted both conversions through to bring the visitors within four points of the Storm with 15 minutes to go (16-14).
But the comeback wasn't to be as Jesse Bromwich pulled off an alarming piece of athleticsm in the forwards, sidestepping the Brisbane attack after an inside ball from Munster to storm over the line in the 68th minute, bringing the score to a runaway 22-12.