Cowboys 22 Storm 0
Cowboys forward Ashton Sims takes on the Melbourne defence. Photo: Getty Images
You can replace players but you can't replace champions.
Melbourne Storm tried its best to make up for the injury-enforced absence of superstar half-back Cooper Cronk and full-back Billy Slater in Townsville on Saturday night but was no match for North Queensland Cowboys who scored a 22-0 victory.
After being down 16-0 at the half, the Storm showed a few sparks early in the second but then the Cowboys took full advantage of having stars Matthew Scott, James Tamou, Brent Tate and Johnathan Thurston return fit from state of origin on Wednesday night to run away with the match.
Storm skipper Cameron Smith made a miraculous comeback from an ankle injury to play against North Queensland. Photo: Getty Images
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