Croft steps up to the mark and nails it
COOPER Cronk’s clone stepped up to break North Queensland’s hearts as Melbourne escaped in a goldenpoint thriller last night.
In his second NRL game, Storm teenager Brodie Croft slotted an extra-time field goal to ice a stunning victory for the leaders.
With nine Queensland Origin players missing between the sides, the ingredients were there for a dour contest between the NRL heavyweights at AAMI Park. But the quality of both clubs shone through. There didn’t deserve to be a loser and that’s nearly how it panned out.
A boilover was on the cards when North Queensland bolted out to a 10-0 lead, but the Cowboys dozed off midway through the second half as the Storm ran in three quick tries.
A controversial penalty allowed Cowboys winger Kyle Feldt to slot a goal after the siren and send the game into extra time.
Cowboys fullback Lachlan Coote shanked a field goal opportunity, allowing Melbourne to march up the field, and that was where Croft stepped up.
First, he produced a pin- point kick that landed just centimetres short of the deadball line to give Melbourne a repeat set. He then drilled the 30-metre field goal to send the crowd wild. With Cronk to exit at the end of the season, and possibly retire, the Storm are on the hunt for a new No.7 and Croft has shown he can be that man despite his tender age.
“His field goal never looked like missing,” Storm coach Craig Bellamy said. “The kid did a lot of practice on that during the week.”
Cowboys coach Paul Green thought his team’s defence let them down in patches, which proved decisive.
MELBOURNE 23 (C Scott 2 F Kaufusi B Smith tries C Munster 3 goals B Croft field
goal) bt NORTH QUEENSLAND 22 (L Coote K Feldt K Linnett tries K Feldt 5 goals) in extra time at AAMI Park. Referee: Ben Cummins, Adam Gee. Crowd: 17,124