A tenacious defensive display from the Brisbane Broncos has helped beat the Canterbury Bulldogs 20-10 in front of 27,746 at Suncorp Stadium.
The Bulldogs failed to click in attack and proved no threat to the brick-wall defence of Brisbane. It was an enterprising start to the game by Brisbane, in the 12th minute, centre Tom Opacic scored the first try of the night when it went through 11 sets of hands.
Brett Morris crossed for the Bulldogs in the 28th minute when Michael Lichaa passed to Moses Mbye from dummy-half. Mbye neatly grubbered through into the Broncos in-goal. Josh Morris flew past the ball allowing brother Brett to swoop and score his 10th try from just eight games.
On the stroke of half-time, Ben Hunt went over to score an individual try. Hunt kicked the ball hard into Mbye allowing himself to regather and make the score 10-4.
In the second half, it was fiery with both sides giving it their all. Just before the hour Brisbane increased their lead when Sam Thaiday scored off a Bulldogs error on their 20-metre line. Thaiday showed off his ballet skills when he did the twist scoring off a short pass from Andrew McCullough.
The Bulldogs gave away a penalty that gave Jordan Kahu the easy option to take the two points. Sam Kasiano would then make up for its team mistake when he barged over to score in the 69th minute.
Brisbane would go on and win the match but in the final minutes of the match, tensions boiled when Kasiano kicked Corey Parker in the face. Parker was not happy at all with blood streaming from his mouth. Kasiano attempted to apologise but Parker wasn’t buying any of it. After that the Brisbane defence would tackle the Bulldogs like their lives depended on it, where the Queensland crowd erupted like it was a State of Origin match. In the final seconds, Kahu would take the two points to finish the game off.
With only two weeks left until the finals, next week will be a doozy. Brisbane will take on the Melbourne Storm while the Bulldogs will battle the North Queensland Cowboys.
The reigning premiers storm back
The North Queensland Cowboys, by defeating the New Zealand Warriors 34-6 in Townsville, gave their finals competitors an emphatic warning not to write them off yet.
After losses to the Roosters, Wests Tigers and the Melbourne Storm, the Cowboys produced a clinical home performance for their fans. They got off to a great start when winger Kyle Feldt scored twice within five minutes. His first came in the 10th minute when Michael Morgan put in a neat grubber for him to score. His second was courtesy of a lucky regather after a ricochet from a defender off Morgan’s boot in the 15th minute. Johnathan Thurston set the next try up for Jason Taumalolo to take the score to 16-0.
There was a glimmer of hope for the Warriors in the 30th when Ryan Hoffman scored, but it proved to be the Warrior’s only opportunity in the match. Justin O’Neill underlined the Cowboys’ superiority by scoring just on half-time. The second half was one-way traffic for the Cowboys, with tries from Ray Thompson and Morgan sealing the victory.
In the absence of the injured Matt Scott, forwards Taumalolo and James Tamou had a great game, Taumalolo running 213 metres and Tamou 227. The Warriors best player was captain Simon Mannering who made an astonishing 69 tackles.
Roosters extinguish Dragons’ flame
The Sydney Roosters ended the St George Illawarra Dragons’ finals hopes at Allianz Stadium on Sunday afternoon, 42 points to 6. The Roosters were relentless in attack, racking up seven tries against the hapless Dragons.
The first came from Rooster Mitchell Aubusson in the 13th minute after Mitchell Pearce put a grubber kick through the defence. Ryan Matterson was next to score, powering past Josh Dugan in the 27th. When the Dragons gave away a penalty in the 31st, giving the Roosters Sio Siua Taukeiaho an easy two-pointer, the die was cast. Against the run of play Benji Marshall and Gareth Widdop combined in the 36th minute when Widdop collected a bomb and put the ball down near the uprights to take the score to 14-6 at half-time.
Any thought that the Dragons could still force a win and scrape into the top eight were soon dashed though, handling errors and unnecessary penalties making it easy for the Roosters to run in five more tries and set Allianz alight. Both Daniel Tupou and Blake Ferguson collected doubles. Aidan Guerra, back from reserve grade, got one. The Roosters were dominant in all areas while the Dragons paid the penalty for Marshall, Dugan and Widdop failing to mesh. The Dragons take on the Parramatta Eels on Monday night in a game now of little consequence while the Roosters get a chance to dent the Cronulla Sharks’ finals charge on Saturday night. – Jesse Mullens
Penrith Panthers 40 – 10 Wests Tigers
Gold Coast Titans 26 – 6 Newcastle Knights
Melbourne Storm 38 – 18 Manly Sea Eagles
Canberra Raiders 28 – 18 Parramatta Eels
South Sydney Rabbitohs 12 – 6 Cronulla Sharks 6
Photo of Jordan Kahu fending off a Bulldogs player from the NRL’s Twitter feed.