VIDEO: Rookies star as Storm wins golden-point epic
WHEN the Origin stars are away, the kids will play.
Melbourne's young stars, led by Brodie Croft, lit up the field in their side's thrilling 23-22 golden-point win over North Queensland at AAMI Park on Saturday night.
Croft was sensational in forcing a drop-out during extra time with a deft kick then slotting the winning field goal in the 85th minute.
"These are the sorts of moments you dream of as a kid," the 19-year-old said post-match.
While many criticised the NRL for scheduling the game during a bye week which meant nine Origin representatives were absent, it gave both teams the chance to blood some of the brightest talent - and they didn't disappoint.
The Storm were without Billy Slater, Cameron Smith, Cooper Cronk, Will Chambers and Tim Glasby, while the Cowboys were missing Johnathan Thurston, Gavin Cooper, Michael Morgan and Coen Hess.
But the likes of young Storm trio Curtis Scott, Brandon Smith and Croft all stepped up, along with Cowboy debutant Kyle Laybutt, to ensure it was still a thrilling contest.
The home side trailed for the first 55 minutes of the game before Scott, Smith and Croft stepped up to help their side take the lead.
The Cowboys weren't done yet, with Kane Linnett scoring in the 78th minute, before a Storm penalty moments before the fulltime siren saw Kyle Feldt slot a kick to send the game into extra time.
Feldt bagged all the points in the opening 25 minutes, scoring a try and kicking three goals, two of which were penalties.
His four-pointer came off the back of some nice play by Jake Ganville and Laybutt.
The Storm had a golden opportunity to post their first points of the game in the 29th minute, but weren't able to execute with Felise Kaufusi turning the ball over.
They didn't have to wait long for another shot, however, when Croft and Cameron Munster combined to put Scott over which meant a 10-6 scoreline at halftime.
Laybutt was back in the action shortly after the break, forcing a drop-out, which led to helped set up his side's next try when Granville grubbered for Lachlan Coote who pounced on the ball.
But despite the Storm lacking a host of experience, they burst to life in the 52nd minute when Smith dived over from dummy half.
They had another three minutes later when Smith, Croft and Kaufusi combined in a stunning play which resulted in Scott's second of the game.
They weren't done yet, however, when Kaufusi continued his stellar 2017 form by scoring another meat pie.
The Cowboys lost Laybutt late in the game with concussion, while Storm lock Dale Finucane's night also ended early following a head knock.