WAYNE Bennett said he wasn’t expecting miracles from skipper Darren Lockyer in his comeback against Parramatta.
But that’s exactly what he got.
With two seconds left, Lockyer’s magical left foot chip kick provided young speed machine Denan Kemp with a club record-equalling fourth try and the Broncos with an astonishing 30-26 victory over the deflated Eels.
â€œHe (Lockyer) was solid, we weren’t expecting miracles,” said Bennett.
â€œHe was probably the only guy on the ground who could have done what he did.”
Kemp’s four tries, in the game of the season, matched feats of former Broncos Lote Tuqiri and Steve Renouf but left the Warriors-bound flyer â€œembarrassed” to be mentioned in the same breath.
â€œIt’s a bit embarrassing to be in that company, I’m not in that category, they’ve done it so many times,” said Kemp.
â€œIt was just an amazing night, it’s still a blur.”
Three players, Justin Hodges (Brisbane), Jarryd Hayne (Parramatta) and Brendan Oake (Parramatta), were all placed on report by referee Jason Robinson for lifting tackles.
A fourth player, Sam Thaiday (Brisbane), also in the Origin picture, could join them if the NRL’s match review committee find fault with his first half tackle on Eel Weller Hauraki.
Lockyer’s 52-minute return from knee surgery was great news for Queensland selectors and the champion five-eighth declared all systems go after pulling off yet another match-winning play.
â€œHe only had to run across the white line to be an Origin certainty,” said Bennett, who devised a plan to use Lockyer in two bursts.
Lockyer said: â€œI had a rest but my fitness is fine and I was confident with my knee.
â€œI’ve got another 12 days to go and I’ll do everything I can to prepare myself for a big game.”
Both Bennett and losing coach Michael Hagan were unhappy with aspects of referee Robinson’s performance.
Robinson blew 18 penalties and upset Hagan by calling back a line ball forward pass while letting several clear ones go.
â€œIt’s a physical game … I didn’t think the referee allowed it to sort ourselves out,” said Hagan.
Hagan was adamant Hodges tackle on Eels hooker Mark Riddell, which was after he passed the ball, warranted close scrutiny.
â€œIt was off the ball and late,” said Hagan.
â€œHe tipped him on his head, there’d be some concern for that one or I hope there is anyway.”
Bennett said he only saw the tackle once and would leave it up to the officials to deal with.
Hodges though has 93 carry over points from an earlier indiscretion this season and will miss the second State of Origin if charged and found guilty.
Hayne could also miss Origin II for lifting Brisbane lock Tonie Carroll above the horizontal.
Parramatta jumped Brisbane 10-0 but only led 12-10 at halftime.
A try to Eels fullback Luke Burt shortly after halftime from a rhino-like charge from big Fuifui Moimoi extended the lead to 18-10 Kemp crossed twice for Brisbane to lead 22-18.
Exciting youngster Krisnan Inu ignited the Eels comeback with two quick tries, the second locking up the game 26-all before Lockyer’s piece of wizardry two seconds before the game was headed into golden-point extra time.