Croft announces himself with extra-point magic for Melbourne

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On just his second NRL appearance, Brodie Croft landed an extra-point drop-goal to hand Melbourne Storm a thrilling 23-22 win over North Queensland Cowboys.

The teenager's maiden outing came in a defeat to St George Illawarra Dragons almost a year ago, but it was a different story this time around as Storm recovered from letting slip an eight-point lead with two minutes to go.

It was the Cowboys who started the brightest at AAMI Park on Saturday, Kyle Feldt kicking two penalties either side of converting his own try.

Curtis Scott's score reduced the deficit before half-time, but Lachlan Coote broke through early in the second period to put the Cowboys 14-6 ahead.

Storm suddenly sparked into life, though, and ran in three tries in a six-minute burst through Brandon Smith, Scott and Felise Kaufusi.

Their lead remained intact until the 78th minute when Kane Linnett went over, Feldt kicking the extras before keeping his cool with a penalty after the hooter had sounded.

But the last word went the way of Croft, whose glorious grubber kick in the additional period forced a repeat set, from which he nailed the decisive drop to maintain the Storm's four-point advantage at the summit.

"It's a pretty surreal feeling, I was thinking the other day I'd not played in 364 days or whatever, and to be back in front of the home crowd is an incredible experience and the sort of moment you dream of as a kid," Croft told Fox Sports.

"It's funny, during the week our assistant coach was telling me 'do a few extras on field goals, it might come in handy this week'. The boys got me in the right position and I'm super proud of the performance we put in tonight."

Storm lead the way atop the ladder from defending champions Cronulla Sharks, who scored twice in the final six minutes to prevail 24-22 and avoid a surprise home defeat to Wests Tigers.