New Zealand Warriors 18 v Brisbane Broncos 23
at Ericsson Stadium
Referees: Shayne Hayne
In a clash that never fails to deliver, Brisbane have taken out the honours and reclaimed their premiership lead with a five-point victory over a spirited Warriors side that ultimately was in with a chance until the 79th minute.
The game started well for the home side, a try out wide to rookie Patrick Ah Van giving the Warriors first blood, before a try to Tame Tupou levelled scores around ten minutes later. The contest see-sawed for much of the first half, the sides trading the lead and drawing level before Brisbane scored one extra to lead by 6 at the break, the scoreline reading 18-12. The visitors' tries came through winger Greg Eastwood, who had an outstanding game overall. He bagged a double, while the Warriors second try was to blockbusting forward Ruben Wiki.
After the break, the game turned quite defensive, with Wiki's levelling double in the 46th the only points until the 74th minute, when Queensland and Australian captain Darren Lockyer potted a field goal to put the Broncos up by one.
Leading 19-18, Brisbane took advantage of every NZ mistake in the final stages, ultimately scoring a try out wide in the dying minutes, giving them a five point buffer. The Warriors then squandered their only opportunity in the final 20 seconds when a pass went flying through two sets of hands straight into Row 1 of the Ericsson Stadium grandstand.
The win sees Brisbane resume their spot at the top of this years competition, and despite the competitiveness of the home side, it seems the men from the Shaky Isles may struggle to make the final eight this season, requiring at least 9 or 10 victories from their final 12 matches to get across the line.
New Zealand Warriors: 18
Tries: Ruben Wiki(2), Patrick Ah Van
Goals: Tony Martin 3/3
Brisbane Broncos: 23
Tries: Shaun Berrigan, Tame Tupou, Greg Eastwood(2)
Goals: Corey Parker 3/4
Field Goals: Darren Lockyer
By the Clock:
1 min: NEWS Underway at Ericsson, Warriors have the first set and kick deep into the Brisbane half.
6 min: TRY New Zealand Warriors
Good try out wide for the Warriors first up through rookie Patrick Ah Van. Sensational stuff. Conversion from Martin is brilliant from the touchline.
10 min: NEWS Some decent footy being played so far by both sides, just the try separating the visitors from the leading home side. Brisbane are on the attack at the moment.
13 min: TRY Brisbane Broncos
Two-try Tupou scores what many assume will be the first of two tries. The conversion from Parker is A-OK from out wide. Scores are level.
16 min: NEWS Simon Mannering and Tame Tupou have had a head clash, Mannering is told to leave the field by the trainers but stays on. Level scores early in the match here. Warriors on the attack.
17 min: TRY New Zealand Warriors
Wiki scores after a brilliant signature Steve Price chargedown. The Warriors take the lead. Martin has his shot at the posts and it's sweetly struck.
22 min: TRY Brisbane Broncos
Eastwood scores after a very simple error from the Warriors on the first play of a set. The Broncos bring things closer. From the same spot Parker puts in through the posts.
30 min: TRY Brisbane Broncos
The Broncos score a try again pretty easily down the flank through Eastwood again. Parker keeps his 100% strike rate going.
Brisbane Broncos 18 New Zealand Warriors 12.
The competition leaders are ahead and while they started slow against a spirited Warriors side, they seem to be hitting their straps late in the half there. The Warriors will take a lot out of the first 25 minutes. Both sides seem to be making metres and scoring tries down the flanks and as the sides tire, whoever holds the ball will win. Amazingly the penalty count is 0-all at halftime.
Second half will begin soon.
41 min: NEWS Second Half into gear now.
46 min: TRY New Zealand Warriors
Wiki gets a sensational double after a brilliant Michael Luck pass. No misses yet for either goalkicker as Martin converts.
48 min: NEWS Lockyer puts it out from the restart kick, and the first penalty of the game is blown after a mammoth 48 minutes. Warriors heavy on the attack again...
65 min: NEWS Very back and forward defensive game, although the Broncos are appearing to threaten more.
74 min: FIELD GOAL Brisbane Broncos
Lockyer smacks through a field goal, the fourth in this round of football. Brisbane up by one with around 6 minutes remaining.
76 min: TRY Brisbane Broncos
A try wraps things up for Brisbane after some defensive lapses by the Warriors and some great passing from the visitors. Parker misses the goal and the Warriors have a slight sniff of a chance with only five in it.
79 min: NEWS Brisbane with the ball but an error gives the Warriors possession with 50 seconds
80 min: NEWS Disappointing finish as the ball flies into touch on the wing. Siren sounds
Brisbane Broncos 23 New Zealand Warriors 18.
Brisbane have taken two competition points to re-claim their spot above the Storm at the top of the table today at Ericsson. A very defensive contest in the second half after the first half produced 5 converted tries. In the second half just the two tries, one a-piece, with a Lockyer field goal effectively sinking the home side before a late try put things beyond reasonable doubt. The Warriors remain at the foot of the ladder and at risk of missing the top eight now.
Leagueunlimited.com players of the match:
3 - Greg Eastwood (Broncos)
2 - Brad Thorn (Broncos)
1 - Ruben Wiki (Warriors)
Brisbane dent Warriors
finals hopes in Auckland