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Cronk drop goal breaks gallant Broncos hearts

Cronk drop goal breaks gallant Broncos hearts

Sat August 18, 2012 9:53am

Barely six weeks ago Sam Thaiday rejoiced as Maroons teammate Cooper Cronk put to bed the State of Origin decider with a 75th-minute field goal from 40m.

Last night, the Broncos skipper found out what it’s like to be on the wrong side of the champion halfback’s precision right boot when Cronk iced a 19-18 win for the Melbourne Storm that sent the gallant Broncos to a fifth-straight loss.

Blog: As it happened

With scores locked at 18-18 after 75 minutes of struggle, likened by Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy to finals football, and the ball on the Broncos’ 20m line, the scene was set for Cronk.

The Storm knew it, the crowd of 41,467 knew it and the Broncos knew it, especially Corey Parker, who cannonballed out of marker and launched headlong in a futile bid to charge down the shot.

Storm skipper Cameron Smith knew it as well. Cronk had told him so as the pair ran back to halfway after Ben Te’o had crashed over in the 71st minute to level the scores for the Broncos.

“He can kick a field goal here, that’s for sure,” he said.

“He’s good at reading a game. He came over and spoke to me when Benny Te’o scored that try. He said ‘mate, get me to halfway and I’m gonna have a shot’.

“He can pull them off. He’s two from two long range at this ground.”

The chapter fits neatly into the ongoing saga that the Bronco-Storm rivalry has become.

The Storm have now won 11 of the past 13 encounters between the two sides, but each instalment has been bitterly contested and Smith said last night’s showdown was reminiscent of the 2008 semi-final between the sides at this very ground.

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