NRL Qualifying Final - Broncos v Storm
BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 08: Jordan Riki of the Broncos celebrates with team mates after scoring a try during the NRL Qualifying Final match between the Brisbane Broncos and Melbourne Storm at Suncorp Stadium on September 08, 2023 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

The Melbourne Storm have been held to zero for the first time since 2020 in a car crash qualifying final against the Brisbane Broncos away from home on Friday evening to open the NRL finals.

A Round 15 game in the middle of the State of Origin period during 2020 was the last time the Storm were held to zero, but by a ferocious Brisbane side they were again on Friday evening in the first qualifying final.

The win for the Broncos broke a hoodoo that has ran for years, while it was also the Queensland-based club's first win over the Storm at Suncorp Stadium in over a decade.

But it won't be the result, the hoodoo or the state of the Storm attack which dominates headlines out of the game.

Instead, it will be a horror injury toll during the final 20 minutes of the game, with Ryan Papenhuyzen's season likely over.

The star fullback, who only returned in recent weeks from more than 400 days on the sideline, was taken from the field on the medicab in the final minutes of the game with what is believed to be a compound fracture of the ankle.

In the final 20 minutes, Trent Loiero and Marion Seve also both left the field with concussions, while Xavier Coates suffered an ankle injury.

For the first hour though, it was all Brisbane as they held Melbourne scoreless and ran on a number of tries.

Dominating off the back of Payne Haas, Thomas Flegler and Patrick Carrigan during the opening 20 minutes, Melbourne's attack was clunky at best in the face of ferocious defence.

On the back of the forwards, it was Adam Reynolds who piloted the side around the park, while Reece Walsh was also outstanding for the home side.

Kevin Walters' side opened the scoring through Kotoni Staggs in the seventh minute, and added a penalty goal before halftime.

Melbourne had chances in the first half, but made six first half errors.

The fatigue told, with Brisbane then crashing over after halftime through Reece Walsh and Jordan Riki, before a Selwyn Cobbo try put the icing on the cake.

The Storm will now face the winner of the Cronulla Sharks and Sydney Roosters in a home semi-final next week, while the Broncos await a preliminary final at home in a fortnight's time.

Match summary

Brisbane Broncos 26 (Tries: Kotoni Staggs, Reece Walsh, Jordan Riki, Selwyn Cobbo; Conversions: Adam Reynolds 4/4; Penalty Goals: Adam Reynolds 1/1) defeat Melbourne Storm 0