Fulltime score: Round 9 Brisbane Broncos 35 v Canterbury Bulldogs 28
The Brisbane Broncos have scored a sensational 35-28 victory over the Canterbury Bulldogs here today at Suncorp Stadium.
The opening exchanges were a bit scrappy with both teams giving away penalties and dropping balls quite a bit. But as the game progressed each side found their measure and what unfolded was a superb game of Rugby League in front of more than 30,000 salivating fans in the pulsating arena formerly known as Lang Park.
After a disallowed try to Corey Hughes in the 2nd minute, which was a rather contentious decision, the Broncos posted first points in the 13th minute through clever work by Darren Lockyer and Karmichael Hunt with the score remaining at 4-0 following Lockyer�s failed conversion. Although this has been much spoken about, the champion five-eighth may miss a few each game but not by much and is a consistently good goal kicker.
But the game exploded into action in the 24th minute when Canterbury blitzed the home side in a seven minute period, crossing the line three times with Hazem El Masri and Brent Sherwin featuring heavily. El Masri twice scored off kicks by Sherwin before Willie Tonga showed up Justin Hodges with ease to bag another.
The Broncos hit back in the 40th minute after hot and cold fullback Luke Patten failed to clean up at the back and Leon Bott pounced for his second leaving the scores at 16-10 to the Bulldogs at the break.
The second half saw Lockyer come into his own after an uneasy first 40 minutes, proving the difference in the teams with his solo try and field goal at the end. The Broncos hit the front 24-16 with two tries and a penalty goal in the 56th minute and looked to be cruising.
The Doggies had different plans though, with Bratih Anasta taking an intercept try before Nate Myles scored in the 71st minute to set the stage for an upset. With Brisbane sensing this, young fullback Hunt went over with five minutes to go and locked up the scores.
Once again, Lockyer�s kicking came under the microscope when he found himself lining up a goal from a metre in from touch on the western side of the field, probably the most difficult angle for a left footer. He missed, but not by much and three minutes later as the Broncos worked their way up the field, the Australian captain received the ball about 35m out, centre field and steadied himself before potting a splendid field goal to win the game.
It wasn�t all over though, with the short restart by Canterbury landing in the arms of Casey McGuire who darted 60m to put the icing on the cake of an enthralling victory for Brisbane. And although the Bulldogs lost they certainly played like a great game of footy and will be a formidable unit when their star forwards return to the field.
Scorers: BRONCOS 35 Tries: Bott 2, S.Berrigan, Lockyer, Hunt, McGuire Goals: Lockyer 5/4 Field goals: Lockyer BULLDOGS 28 Tries: El Masri 2, Tonga, Anasta, Myles Goals: El Masri 4/5
At Suncorp Stadium Referee: Tim Mander Halftime: Bulldogs 16-10
Sunny day here at Suncorp Stadium. The Broncos get us underway. A Happy Mother's Day to all the mums out there as well.
2 min: An early kick by the Bulldogs sees Hunt fumble and the Dogs gain good position. Corey Hughes goes himself from dummy half and wrestles the ball to the ground but the video referee adjudicates a penalty to the Broncos for Hughes using a Brisbane player as a shepphard. Score still nil all as the Broncos find touch.
6 min: Broncos make another mistake in their own half with Lockyer looking for Bott on the wing only to put it over the sideline. Fortunately, Brisbane force an error in the ensuing scrum play and get the ball back. A little scrappy in the opening exchanges here at Suncorp Stadium.
10 min: Still plenty of dropped balls and silly play creating penalties in the game early. Neither team looks to have settled down yet but it appears as though the first one to get into a rhythm could well kick away.
13 min: TRY - Broncos. Lockyer goes to the line and puts Hunt in a gap who finds Bott on the outside and scores in the left corner. Nice play from the home team and Lockyer puts his attempted conversion across the face of the posts and the score is Broncos 4 Bulldogs 0.
24 min: TRY - Bulldogs. After three sets of six and mounting pressure, Sherwin slips a nice little grubber into the in-goal area and El Masri dives on it to score the Doggies first try. He converts his own try and the visitors lead 6-4.
27 min: TRY - Bulldogs. Tonga makes a huge break down the western side of the field before finding Utai on the inside who is then put to ground. The next play sees Sherwin kick across field for El Masri again who bags his second try. He can't convert this one though and the score is Bulldogs 10 Broncos 4.
31 min: TRY - Bulldogs. Hughes cleverly snatches a 40-20 from dummy half and whilst Lockyer argues with the ref the Dogs feed the scrum and get the ball to Tonga who beats Hodges with consummate ease to score out wide. Hazem converts and the Dogs lead by 16-4.
38 min: Utai on report for a high shot on Minto. Up around the throat but not too much in it.
39 min: Lolesi and Stagg have left the field after an off-the-ball head clash. Lolesi has a gash in the head and Stagg is sporting a nasty egg on the head. Unlikely that either will return.
40 min: TRY - Broncos. very close to the siren and Seymour grubbers it into the in goal and opposing fullback Patten fails to clean up in a very average display of kicking skills and Bott is there to swoop on the loose ball. Lockyer converts and the Broncos trail Canterbury by 16-10.
Half time: Well the Broncos still have a bit of work ahead of them here. They seemed to have chewed up a lot of juice midway through the first half by defending their line constantly. The Bulldogs are taking their chances and pulled away to a good lead before the second of Bott's tries. The second half could really go either way but Sherwin is dictating his own terms out on the field and Lockyer looks a little below his usual brilliance.
And we're underway in the second half through the boot of Anasta for the Bulldogs.
44 min: Lolesi could be back for the Dogs after being stitched up at halftime. Stagg not so lucky though with a possible fractured cheekbone.
46 min: Patten on report for a shot on Minto, the poor bugger's getting hit from all angles today.
48 min: TRY - Broncos. Seymour dribbles the ball into the in-goal area for Shaun Berrigan to dive upon. Nice work all round and Lockyer converts to lock up the game at 16-all.
52 min: TRY - Broncos. Lockyer takes the ball to the line, dummy's, junks and steps to beat the defence and run 30m to score under the posts. He was having a mixed day but once again this just goes to show why he's the best in the world. He converts his own try and the score is Brisbane 22 Canterbury 16.
56 min: Penalty goal - Broncos. Lockyer puts another one over from next to the posts from a foul by the Dogs for failing to get back the ten.
63 min: TRY - Bulldogs. Anasta pounces on a pass and scores a 40m intercept try to get the Doggies back in the contest. El Masri sends it flying over the black dot and the score is now Broncos 24 Bulldogs 22.
64 min: Crowd about 30,000.
71 min: TRY - Bulldogs. Nate Myles pinches his first meat pie in the NRL running off a great pass from Sherwin close to the line. Upset on the cards here now as Brisbane look out of puff. El Masri converts and the Dogs lead 28-24.
75 min: TRY - Broncos. I spoke too soon as Hunt gets over the line on an angled run. Lockyer misses the goal narrowly and it's locked up at 28-all. Potential golden point game.
80 min: Field goal then TRY! - Broncos. What a sensation here at Suncorp!!! Lockyer sets himself for a field goal from about 35m out and puts it straight over. Then the Dogs try a short kick-off only for Casey McGuire to grab the ball and run 60m to score under the posts. Lockyer converts and the Broncos win 35-28 in a terrific contest.
----------------------------------------- Leagueunlimited.com players of the match: 3 - D Lockyer (Broncos) 2 - H El Masri (Bulldogs) 1 - L Bott (Broncos) -----------------------------------------