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James Tamou | Robb Cox © NRL Photos

Melbourne are the second team through to the semi-finals after they downed a lacklustre Cowboys outfit 14-6.

North Queensland launched into the razzle-dazzle from the opening whistle with the aid of the new free-play rule but the Storm's defence was back in order after their whipping at the hands of the Roosters, turning away several Cowboys charges at the start of proceedings.

A slight lack of execution and sturdy defence from both sides kept the match scoreless for over eight minutes but a few repeat sets finally told on North Queensland when Richie Kennar cracked the deadlock for a 6-0 half-time advantage.

A brilliant Cam Munster intercept and a floating pass to a supporting Curtis Scott stretched the lead early in the second half to 10-0 but a dropped ball in his own end from Nelson Asofa-Solomona set the stage for a Rory Kostjasyn show-and-go solo try to get the Cowboys started.

Munster's knee twisted awkwardly in a tackle with two minutes remaining causing him to leave the field in some discomfort. The frustrated Cowboys weren't able to get out of their own end and a forward pass late in the game ended their chances and handed the Storm a final scoring chance which they took via a Ben Hampton solo try.

Melbourne Storm 14 (Kennar, Scott, Hampton tries) def. North Queensland Toyota Cowboys 6 (Kostjasyn try).

First published on

Acknowledgement of Country

North Queensland Cowboys respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.