The Brisbane Broncos have locked in their NRL top eight credentials and kept their bid for a Top 4 finish alive with a strong 34-6 win over in-form Canberra in their Round 21 NRL meeting today at Suncorp Stadium.
In a mistake-riddled game that never reached any great heights until the final five minutes of the match, Brisbane’s defence shut down the Raiders’ attack, which had posted 80 points in the past two weeks.
The Broncos snapped Canberra’s three-game winning streak to move to 27 competition points and keep their faint top-four hopes alive, moving in behind fourth-placed Cronulla on 30 points. They also sit a game-and-a-half clear of nearest rivals the Dragons, and ahead of a bunch of teams vying for positions six through eight.
Brisbane led 12-6 at the break courtesy of tries to Karmichael Hunt and Peter Wallace, and scored the only points in the second half with four tries.
The home side got the second stanza off to the best possible start when second rower Sam Thaiday chased through a pinpoint Peter Wallace grubber and touched down to extend the margin to two converted tries.
Darius Boyd’s try in the 66th minute sealed the win for the Broncos, before tries to Darren Lockyer and Denan Kemp extended the margin.
The final try was a spectacular effort that saw Lockyer kicking for the right-hand corner from 45 metres out, allowing Kemp enough time to race up the right wing and seize the ball ahead of two Raiders defenders for the put-down.
Brisbane faces a relatively easy run home to the finals, playing three of their final five games at home and facing the struggling Titans and Bulldogs along the way.
Lockyer laid on two brilliant tries in the final five minutes as the home side ran away with the game, including one he finished himself, and the skipper said while the side lacked composure, the strong defence set up the victory.
“We’re just losing our composure a bit when we’re under pressure,” he told ABC Grandstand.
“We just need to get our composure … whenever we set up plays we get benefit out of it but sometimes we’re a bit disorganised.
“But we defended really well today and that’s what won us the game.
“It’s always nice to enjoy the back end of games and we had that opportunity because we had the game won.
Brisbane: 34 (K Hunt, P Wallace, S Thaiday, D Boyd, D Lockyer, D Kemp tries; M Ennis 2 conversions, penalty; C Parker 2 conversions)
Canberra: 6 (T Thurling try; T Campese conversion)