The tables were turned in Brisbane tonight, with the Broncos getting home against the Titans in golden point extra time.
In a match not dissimilar to State of Origin 3; where fumbles, injury, defence and determination set the scene. After scoring early, the Titans also conceded soon after with the Broncos bouncing back.
In the middle third of the game, it became a war of attrition. You could see the big Broncos forwards tiring, already without Brent Tate – the Broncos lost Justin Hodges to a torn hamstring and the Australian centre will miss the next few weeks.
The Broncos Origin players really started to get tired legs and the Titans finally started to make some inroads. For so much of the game, the Titans spread the ball through the hands only to be bundled into touch on several plays. Scott Prince guilty of the ‘dummy and go, dummy and go – then pinning his outside men into a corner’.
When the Titans began turning the ball back inside and hitting it up the centre, they almost immediately had success. Mark Minichiello had a top shelf game and worked hard all night, getting plenty of metres and using his knack for receiving penalties while in possession – to get his side some piggy backs.
When Scott Prince put on two massive left foot steps from 10 metres out to score near the posts, it seemed like the game was done and dusted. The Titans were lifting and looked to be home free.
Shortly after this try, Broncos Dave Taylor and Greg Eastwood put a massive after kick hit on Scott Prince – flooring the Titans halfback and forcing him from the field. This proved the start of the momentum shift as the Broncos muscled up and looked for possession.
With minutes remaining, big Bronco Dave Taylor crashed over to lock things up and the all the momentum was with the Brisbane team.
As golden point kicked in, the Broncos grew an extra leg. They received the ball and hit it up 65 metres on 4 tackles and looked to Lockyer to seal the match with a 40 metre field goal. Lockyers kick brushing the left hand upright and spilling over the posts for the 1 point win – which sees Brisbane well in the Top 8 now.
It was an impressive display from some young Broncos tonight, but outstanding form was shown by former Rooster Ben Hennant. The young prop has a bunch of games under his belt now and is error free, eats the metres in attack and is tireless in defence. Hennant was able to lift the tempo for the other tiring Brisbane forwards.
Brisbanes only concern will be more injuries as they now lose Justin Hodges and have clouds over Tonie Carroll (elbow) and Petero Civoniceva (shoulder) – the Broncos are already without Karmichael Hunt, Dane Carlaw and Brent Tate – who all missed tonights game.