A 37,173 strong Suncorp Stadium crowd came out to see veteran captain Darren Lockyer equal the record for most NRL games racking up his 349th game, the Warriors came out to spoil the party and almost did before the Broncos clinched 21-20 victory.
Despite some enthusiastic football from the home side in the opening 40 the Warriors claimed the first half honours. The visitors put on an energetic first half display to wow the crowd with some majestic displays and take out the first half honours with a 12 points to 8 lead.
It was the Broncos who put on the first points of the game with a try to round 21's 4 try hero Hodges set up by veteran duo Lockyer and Thaiday. Parker did not start the game well with the boot failing to slot a goal in the first half.
The run of play appeared to be in favour of the Broncos but Shaun Johnson turned that right around when he streaked through the Broncos line leaving behind several would be tacklers to score before Maloney gave the visitors the lead with a conversion.
The Warriors increased their lead in the 21st minute when they opted for the 2 from a penalty from close range, Maloney added the points before allowing the Broncos back into the game with a few back to back penalties in close range. Broncos failed to capitalise on the opportunities and it was the Warriors who put on the next points.
A superb effort against the run of play gave the Warriors their next try when James Maloney chipped and chased and drifted the ball across to Locke from the regather. Locke accelerated to the line to score in the corner. Maloney with his first miss of the night failed to slot a difficult conversion.
Broncos had a few opportunities but it was a long range effort which put their next points on the board after Yow Yeh made a half break on the kick return. In the following play, Jack Reed made a big break on the opposite side of the field and the opposite side of halfway to put Gerard Beale in to score to take Broncos to the break with a deficit of only 4, with Warriors ahead 12-8.
The second half saw a great contest between the sides which ended with a frantic finish and socceresque runs of play to see the Broncos finish the game with a 1 point victory.
Brisbane reclaimed the lead early in the second half when their red heads came together, when a Wallace boot helped Jack Reed find the line. Parker landed his first conversion of the night and Brisbane had the lead.
A penalty minutes later helped Broncos extend their lead when Lockyer used the opportunity to set up a try to Gillett right next to the posts which helped Parker's goal kicking percentage for the night offering him an easy shot.
Warriors hit back minutes later when Maloney put former Bronco Shaun Berrigan in to score. Maloney added the extras and the Warriors were within 2 points of the Broncos. The New Zealand side bridged the gap collecting the 2 points from a penalty goal with ten minutes left to play in the game.
The final ten minutes saw a frantic display trying to decide a winner. Warriors had the first chances at going up missed 2 field goal attempts and although Brisbane missed one of their own they got a good result from a charge down of a Lockyer field goal attempt in that they had the ball returned to them and used the possession to score the match winning point.
Warriors had the last opportunity to snatch victory in the final minute when a short kick off gave them possession inside the Broncos half courtesy of a scrum feed. The Warriors last set didn't do the opportunity justice, squandering it and not getting a good drop goal attempt in to accept the one point loss, going down 21 points to 20.
Brisbane Broncos 21 defeated New Zealand Warriors 20
National Rugby League - Round 22 (Close the Gap Round) - Saturday August 6, 2011 7:30pm
Venue: Suncorp Stadium
Referee: Ashley Klein and Gerard Sutton
Video Referee: Tim Mander
Touch Judges: Ricky MacFarlane and Luke Potter
Halftime: Brisbane Broncos 8 New Zealand Warriors 12
Leagueunlimited.com players of the match:
3 Points - James Maloney (2 Conversions, 2 Penalty Goals)
2 Points - Sam Thaiday
1 Point - Shaun Johnson (1 Try)
BRISBANE BRONCOS (21)
Tries: Justin Hodges, Matt Gillett, Gerard Beale, Jack Reed
Field Goals: Darren Lockyer (0/1), Peter Wallace (1/1)
Conversions: Corey Parker (2/4)
NEW ZEALAND WARRIORS (20)
Tries: Shaun Berrigan, Kevin Locke, Shaun Johnson
Field Goals: James Maloney (0/2), Shaun Johnson (0/1)
Conversions: James Maloney (2/3)
Penalty Goals: James Maloney (2/2)
LeagueUnlimited.com Live Commentary Good Evening and welcome to Suncorp Stadium for League Unlimited's coverage of what should be a blockbuster match between the Brisbane Broncos and New Zealand Warriors. Tonight we will see Broncos captain equal the record for most NRL games and a big crowd is expected to see him record the feat. The Warriors will be looking to spoil the party in a fight for a home semi final.
The Toyota Cup curtain raiser saw a remarkable comeback from Warriors under 20s side seeing them comeback after being down 26-6 early in the second half to draw the match 26 all.
TEAM NEWS: The Broncos will be 1-17 as per program. Joel Moon is out for the Warriors and Lewis Brown will come into the centres in jumper 18. Matulino will start the match in place of Lillyman who will start off the bench.
1 min: Broncos kick off to get the game under way and give the Warriors the first use of the football.
2 min: Warriors with a good half break in the opening set, playing with a lot of confidence here.
3 min: Vatuvei lets a ball bounce and it bounces into him as he can't get away from the sideline gifting the Broncos a scrum 20 out.
4 min: Ben Matulino attempts an intercept and knocks on to gift Brisbane another scrum in the New Zealand red zone, this time ten out.
7 min: TRY
TRY to the Broncos! Lockyer links with Thaiday who attracts four defenders before offloading to Hodges to score outside. Conversion attempt from Parker unsuccessful.
Brisbane Broncos 4-0
8 min: Brisbane attacking strongly now with superb go forward, but finish the set poorly giving the Warriors a free ride to start their set from the 20.
9 min: Superb boot from Maloney wrong foots Hoffman out back to earn a repeat set forcing a goal line drop out.
10 min: Broncos force an error from Vatuvei to reclaim the football.
11 min: Lockyer plays the ball on the last looking to create something for himself, but loses the ball and has to turn over.
14 min: TRY
TRY to the Warriors! Superb effort from Shaun Johnson sees him streak out for a long range try getting around 6 attempts to catch him on his way to the line. Maloney boots an easy conversion.
New Zealand Warriors 6-4
16 min: Both sides' forward packs doing wonderfully making plenty of metres.
17 min: PENALTY to the Broncos against Berrigan for a flop.
18 min: Ball comes free from the Broncos and Warriors pounce on it.
19 min: PENALTY to the Warriors, against Thaiday for a high tackle. Warriors opt for the 2.
21 min: PENALTY GOAL
Maloney boots an easy penalty goal attempt.
New Zealand Warriors 8-4
23 min: Superb contest taking place here with both sides strong in attack and enthusiastic in defence.
24 min: Brisbane scrum about 37 out from the New Zealand line after Berrigan knocks on.
25 min: PENALTY to the Broncos right in front, and the opt to run it.
25 min: Back to back PENALTIES to the Broncos now who again opt to run it.
26 min: Sloppy play the ball from Hannant and the Warriors are let off the hook with a scrum feed.
30 min: TRY
TRY to the Warriors! Spectacular effort again long range, Maloney chips and chases, regathers it and drifts it over the top to Kevin Locke who runs out wide to score in the corner. Maloney fails to slot a difficult conversion.
New Zealand Warriors 12-4
32 min: Ben Hannant is receiving treatment on a hamstring on the bench.
34 min: Huge set from the Warriors with a couple of half breaks is met with Brisbane defence equal to the task.
36 min: Relieving PENALTY to the Broncos who haven't been able to get out of their ten. Lockyer helps Brisbane to the Warriors' 40 metre line to start the set post penalty.
37 min: Brisbane squander a good attacking opportunity when Thaiday loses it forward.
38 min: A nice break from Yow Yeh is stopped with an ankle tap but not before he crosses the 40 metre line.
40 min: TRY
TRY to the Broncos! Jack Reed makes a huge break down the left flank before finding Beale who crosses the whitewash to score. Conversion attempt from Parker unsuccessful.
New Zealand Warriors 12-8
40 min: We will not get a restart and that is half time with the visitors ahead by 4 points; Warriors lead Brisbane 12 points to 8.
41 min: Warriors kick the second half into play.
44 min: A great contest to open the second half, where both sides are defending well, but we're seeing superb kicking games from the Warriors halves to help make them look the more threatening.
47 min: A super boot puts pressure on Locke and he can't gets a clean hold of it, but cleans up grounding it in goal for a line drop out.
50 min: TRY
TRY to the Broncos! Some red power from the Broncos when a good little boot from Wallace is collected by fellow ranga Jack Reed to score. Corey Parker boots his first conversion of the night.
Brisbane Broncos 14-12
52 min: PENALTY to the Warriors against Ben Hunt for hanging on too long in the tackle. This will put them into good attacking range.
53 min: Broncos let off the hook when a Reed tackle on Berrigan forces the ball free.
55 min: PENALTY to the Broncos for holding down and this penalty helps Brisbane into good attacking range.
58 min: TRY
TRY to the Broncos! Lockyer finds Gillett on the inside and puts him in to score next to the posts. Parker slots his second goal of the night.
Brisbane Broncos 20-12
59 min: Update on Hannant, he has what I am told is a hip flexer complaint and is very unlikely to be back in this game.
61 min: Heremeia boots it out of dummy half and earns a repeat set for the Warriors forcing a goal line drop out.
63 min: TRY
TRY to the Warriors! Heremeia ball playing from dummy half gets it on to Maloney who throws a long pass to Berrigan on the right edge to score in the corner. Maloney with another difficult conversion, nails this one.
Brisbane Broncos 20-18
67 min: This great contest continues at Suncorp, Brisbane are ahead on the scoreboard, but the Warriors last tackle options are giving them a sniff and showing them to look the better at this stage in the match.
69 min: Mistake from McCullough out of dummy half and the Warriors are helped back onto the attack.
70 min: PENALTY to the Warriors right in front and the New Zealand side will take the 2.
71 min: PENALTY GOAL
Maloney levels with the boot.
74 min: Hodges attempting to put Glenn into a hole throws a forward pass.
75 min: FIELD GOAL ATTEMPT
Field goal attempt from Maloney is sprayed to the right.
72 min: Parker leaves the field with a cut on the cheek.
77 min: FIELD GOAL ATTEMPT
Shaun Johnson with a field goal attempt is just short.
78 min: FIELD GOAL ATTEMPT
Lockyer has a field goal attempt charged down and Brisbane have six again.
79 min: FIELD GOAL
Peter Wallace nails a field goal.
Brisbane Broncos 21-20
80 min: Warriors find touch with a short kick off and earn a scrum.
80 min: FIELD GOAL ATTEMPT
A few strange plays from the Warriors and Maloney attempts the field goal and can't get a clean shot off and misses.