The Cowboys desperately needed to be first to score in the second half against the competition's best front-runners and they got some help from the Storm, who handed over five straight penalties through offside and ruck infringements to camp the Cowboys in attacking range and allow Te Maire Martin to slice through.
Melbourne is favourite especially when it has the three superstars Smith, Cronk and Billy Slater.
The Cowboys' Shaun Fensom signals to the crowed as he is carted off with a broken leg early in the grand final.
Flying high: He may not have celebrated elaborately, but Josh Addo-Carr gets horizontal for the dive for the line. Melbourne sensed blood in the water.
As the scrum set, the stadium audio played the old Talking Heads classic "Road to Nowhere". Then Antonio Winterstein knocked on a Cronk grubber kick to give the Storm prime field position. Both are fantastic options to back and are at decent odds to be the first try scorer. I'm a bit anxious that if the Storm finally put together a full 80 minutes of their best football, the Cowboys could be on the wrong end of a very impressive display.
The Cowboys were the story of the season, sneaking into the playoffs in eighth spot and winning three knockout matches to book their place in the big show.
However, eventually, Martin got through some exhausted defence to give the Cowboys a chance. At 18-6 there was some hope for North Queensland, though it didn't last long.More news: 3 takeaways from win over Iowa State
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When Josh Addo-Carr collected a loose ball in the 68th minute and offloaded to Curtis Scott, the match was effectively over.
Even more impressive, they were missing star players Johnathan Thurston and Matt Scott for the playoffs as they watched from the coaches' box. Coach Paul Green's men are full of confidence and have nothing to lose - a combination that could very well prove the ideal recipe for premiership success. A handsome length-of-the-field effort was finished by Josh Ado-Carr, a player who could run 10.6 for the 100m when he was 16, and a player who the Wests Tigers were unable to get the best out of in season 2016. What a night to remember for the young Aboriginal winger, who only joined the Storm a year ago from Wests Tigers.
But the evening definitely belonged to scrum-half Cronk and his great mate Slater.
"There's no fairytales in rugby league, all there is working really hard and results go your way", the 33-year=old told Channel Nine.
"One moment for me tonight that will live with me forever is we did one of our plays between Cameron, Billy and myself, and Billy went through", Cronk said.
It capped off a triumphant domestic campaign for Slater, who had his last two seasons wiped out by shoulder injuries and surgeries.