From the pre-game commentary
Slater was well held by the Dragons. He is probably due for a blinder. King could be ready to explode as well, his best work was done in defence the other night when he practically closed down Gasnier.
The biggest danger for the Storm will be the psychological blow if Brisbane get a flying start. It will be 2001 revisited, after the Storm played so well all year, to find things going wrong in the big game. Also they are short on experience in big games compared with Brisbane.
It will be interesting to see how the Storm try to restrict Lockyer, Hill is too slow to do the job. Likewise to see how they counter Hodges who is probably the best kick return runner in the game at present.
Slater did have a blinder but he also participated in the brain explosions induced by playing from behind. One time he ran far away from any support and another time he forced a silly pass that went over the sideline (off the hand of Hodges) but Brisbane got the feed.
Lockyer was never held and several times he managed to handle twice in a movement, like the time he swooped on a ball that was thrown blindly and ended up with a try.
Probably the key to the ballgame was the defence of the Brisbane backline, Brisbane were always going to shade the Storm forwards who just had to hold them (which they did) so the backs could get the job done. But King and Inglis never delivered on their lethal potential.
1. The penalty against Slater when a lunging Brisbane attacker lost the ball on the line and it fell into Slater’s hands. He ran into the field of play and unloaded, then they were away….
2. No try when King got over the line but it was ruled that it was a Storm player and not the Brisbane player who touched the ball first. Not sure about that, I am just following the commentary team.
3. No penalty for a shepherd for Berrigan (?) just before he fell down under Slater’s tackle and Brisbane took 2 points for a high shot.
4. Brisbane feed after Hodges touched the pass from Slater that went over the sideline.
The Storm were desperately hurt by the first two pointer and their failure to convert their tries. The first a hard one that Smith would have mostly potted and the second an easy one that Geyer stuffed up because Smith had a bad leg. Factor in any one of those and there would have been no field goal, so Brisbane would have had to play out the game with four points in hand or less. The Storm could have played with more deliberation and less desperation.
Brisbane got better value from their bombs in attack – one try came from a kick that Turner failed to catch and the Brisbane last line handled a lot of high kicks with aplomb. Storm seemed to kick from too far out, possibly missing the yardage that Smith usually makes out of dummy half. They needed to have Smith and Hill on the field together for the whole game.
In addition to fielding high balls, the Brisbane back three were outstanding in goal-line defence.