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Hannant oustanding in Brisbane loss

After knocking over Melbourne's forwards all night an exhausted Ben Hannant barely had the energy to carry his young son out of Brisbane's dressing room at Suncorp Stadium.
Hannant oustanding in Brisbane loss
by AAP

By Wayne Heming

BRISBANE, March 30 AAP - After knocking over Melbourne's forwards all night an exhausted Ben Hannant barely had the energy to carry his young son out of Brisbane's dressing room at Suncorp Stadium.

Brisbane earlier threatened to claim one of the great NRL comebacks from 20-6 down at halftime, hitting the lead 22-20 midway through the second half.

Melbourne withstood the charge to maintain their unbeaten start to the season with a 32-26 win built on some freakish and cheeky tries.

Hannant lost his starting front-row spot for round one against Manly earlier this month but on Friday night's tireless performance, his position looks well and truly secure.

The Queensland and Australian forward ploughed through 41 tackles while making a 154 metres from 16 hit-ups - 50 metres more than any Melbourne forward on the night.

Every time Brisbane needed to go forward, Hannant put his body on the line.

Brisbane skipper Sam Thaiday wasn't far behind with 133 metres and 44 tackles.

Questioned during the build-up by former captain Gorden Tallis as to whether they were big enough in the middle, Brisbane's forwards stood tall against Melbourne's pack, finishing at least even with their rivals on the night.

Billy Slater's first try of his hat-trick in the ninth minute was shrouded in controversy after Thaiday protested unsuccessfully to the referees he'd been held back by the jumper in a scrum by Melbourne prop Brian Norrie.

Slater speared through a massive gap off an inside pass from five-eighth Gareth Widdop to give the visitors an 8-0 lead.

"In that situation that's where I'd be, that's where I'd be chasing," Thaiday said.

"Being held back and stopped from doing my job is pretty tough.

"To see the green light come out on the big screen was pretty disappointing as well."

Brisbane coach Anthony Griffin didn't want to dwell on the clever piece of coaching by rival Craig Bellamy.

Instead he turned on critics of his team, now 1-3 and facing tough games against the Gold Coast and North Queensland with two players Josh Hoffman (achilles strain) and David Stagg (medial ligaments) both heading for scans on Saturday.

"I'm bitterly disappointed, we got ourselves in a position to win the game and we didn't close it out," he said.

"I've got no question about our character or attitude, those questions have been coming from you (media) guys."

Griffin admitted Melbourne's ability to score tries other NRL side's couldn't score, proved the difference.

"It's probably great to watch," he said.

"They scored some freakish tries and that's the disappointing thing ... they don't get much better than that."


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