The Broncos tasted defeat for the first time in 2009, their flashy backline unable to get their chance with no platform allowed as their forwards were turned away.
Icing the cake for the Dragons was not only the victory for new coach, but another old Bronco Wendell Sailor getting a try and celebrating wildly as he kicked the ball into the crowd. Big Dell was more fired up than usual after the Brisbane supporters had booed him for the entire game, the big man having the last laugh.
Brisbane continued to be hurt by former employees, with Darius Boyd adding to Bennett’s and Dell’s contributions against their old side – Boyd having a top shelf game to cut his opponents up on the edges.
But overall, it was Jamie Soward who deserves all the credit for the win. The little half who has copped his fair share of bad press, was continued to give a licence to thrill by Wayne Bennet. Soward kicked and timed his runs to perfection in addition to organising his side.
Both sides made late changes to their on-field line-ups.
Yet another former Bronco Neville Costigan was thrown into the run of team, with Matthew Head confined to the reserves list, Broncos elder statesman Michael De Vere got his return to the big stage after teammate Lagi Setu withdrew late.
Bennettâ€™s much anticipated return for the first time since quitting Red Hill for Kogarah guaranteed a season-high crowd of 42,435 at the ground he called home for many of his 21 years in charge at the Broncos.
Sailor was highly involved early and was a constant menace to the Broncos on the edges. He also added starch to the Saints defence when needed.
Sailor pulled off a mammoth hit early in the game, landing one on Steve Michaels that rocked the young player and made for a long night at the office as plenty of traffic was sent Michaels’ way.
After Brisbane scored early, the Dragons came back quickly with a try to Ben Creagh, the workhorse running straight at Darren Lockyer after Ben Hornby made space and threw a nice pass.
A penalty during the first half giving the Dragons an 8-6 lead and would be the only other score of the first half. Despite the low scoring, the match was a beauty. Plenty of action and feeling from two teams that should figure at the business end of the season.
Saints Beau Scott, Darius Boyd and Jamie Soward all going close to getting points, the Broncos fortunate for Thaiday and Hunt to pull off last ditch tackles.
Folau continues to prove his worth, scoring points and threatening at close range many times.
The 2nd half saw more frenetic action, with Soward launching a high ball early for the young Broncos fullback to spill the pill.
Winterstein having air swing, allowing Soward to cruise over and setup a 14-6 lead.
Sailor added to the starch of his forwards, regularly going in-field to do extra work – adding value hitups for his side.
Another heavy tackle on the under pressure Steve Michaelsâ€™ near his own 40m line forced the ball loose and big Dell pounced, cleaning up the scraps and scoring in the corner.
To their credit, the Broncos remained in the hunt late.
But their heads went down after Soward, who sprinted 60m and offloaded to Brett Morris to score after picking up some scraps from a Darren Lockyer stray pass.Morris turning on the afterburners and then beating Hunt to score on the edge.
Lockyer, though, was not to be outdone – giving Broncos some points with a try with 12 minutes left off a quality Hodges inside ball.
But it was diamonds and stones for Lockyer after gifting another intercept to Hornby and giving the Dragons more field position late in the piece.