Storm spoils the party for Seibold's Broncos
The thunderstorms which lashed Sydney drowned out some of the muffled sniggering emanating from Redfern.
The highly-anticipated move of former South Sydney coach Anthony Seibold to Brisbane was anticlimactic.
This wasn't a disaster. But the Seibold hype fell flat.
It's only round one and there were some positive signs, but Brisbane fans would have expected more after the club's relentless off-season pursuit of Seibold.
Souths were filthy at how Seibold left the club. Who knows, it may have been a blessing.
Melbourne Storm continued to dominate Brisbane with a 22-12 win at AAMI Park last night. It was a strong win for Storm coach Craig Bellamy over Seibold.
The Broncos were disjointed and panicked in the opening half against an up-tempo and high intensity Storm.
There is no doubt Brisbane are a work in progress.
"It's only round one," sad Broncos forward Matt Gillett. "Tonight was a step forward with the new coach."
The Broncos big men struggled with the pace of the game early and it doesn't get much easier with matches scheduled against the Sydney Roosters, St George Illawarra and North Queensland over the next three rounds.
Seibold will really feel the heat if he starts 0-4 or even 1-3.
There is no doubt Seibold is a fine coach whose sides like to play sideline to sideline.
Back-to-back tries dragged them back into the game after being behind 16-0.
Brisbane looked gassed by halftime. The Broncos did not have one tackle inside Melbourne's 20 during the opening 34 minutes. And when they finally did, Brisbane kicked on tackle three.
Another concern for Seibold is an early match tackle by Broncos prop Matt Lodge on Storm star Cameron Munster.
Lodge dived at Munster's legs, the tackle immediately placed on report.
It didn't look good.
Melbourne showed they can in fact win without the great Billy Slater.
Jahrome Hughes was strong all game and scored the first try of the season, crossing after just three minutes.
"Hughes passed his test," sad former international Paul Vautin.
Munster added: "He's a good player, mate."
Slater returned to AAMI Park as a retired player. They named a grandstand after him.
"It did feel a little different driving into AAMI Park," he said.
Losing such a player can change the dynamics of a team, especially such a successful side.
But Melbourne went about life as normal. The system win games, not the players.
"You just don't lose a player that has been around that long - the quality of the player, the quality of the person, it's been a bit change, no doubt," Bellamy said.
SMITH STILL THE MASTER
What a player. Kicked and controlled the game beautifully in his 385th NRL.
He wants to play on again next season.
Why not? He could play until his 40.
When asked about Slater's retirement, Smith said: "My role hasn't changed."
ONE EYE ON ORIGIN
There were seven potential NSW players playing - and all had a few nice touches.
The only disappointment was James Roberts, who came from the field early with a back injury and did not return.
Lodge enjoyed some robust carries while Curtis Scott and Josh Addo-Carr were impressive for Melbourne. Brisbane youngster Kotoni Staggs is a future Blue too.
Scott scored a runaway 60 metres try. He was heavily discussed by NSW selectors last year.
STORM'S STARTS WON'T STOP
Melbourne hasn't lost an opening round game 2001. They are the most extraordinary club.
Melbourne frustrate opposition sides, they can bore you to death. They were as professional as always.
Melbourne has beaten Brisbane 32 times, Brisbane winning just 13 matches.
The Storm has won 16 of the past 18 matches over Brisbane.
This was wonderful start to the NRL season between two powerhouse yet interstate NRL franchises.
But let's bring rugby league back to its true home base - Sydney.
Friday night at the grand old SCG, the Sydney Roosters and South Sydney meet. One hundred and eleven years of history and rivalry.
Bring. It. On.