It was a game that the Brisbane Broncos were looking to win to keep their finals hopes alive and a game the Parramatta Eels wanted to win to try and get off the bottom of the ladder.
Only one team could win in the end and that was the home side, the Broncos, who took out the clash 22-12 on the back of a solid performance from fullback Josh Hoffman.
With persistent talk surrounding both his future and the future of Ben Barba and whether the currently injured Dogs fullback will join the Broncos, Hoffman let his on-field work do the talking, as he helped his side to victory.
With an unbeaten run of four games, the faint finals hopes are alive for the Broncos, though the task is not about to get easier, especially when they have to win their four remaining games to just be in with a chance to make the eight.
It was the Eels who had the recent rub of the green over the Broncos winning their last 2 clashes, but the Broncos were determined in this one and came out on top.
Although still possible to avoid the online blackjack wooden spoon for the second straight year – the first side that will attain consecutive wooden spoons since Souths in 2003-2004 – the Eels seem resigned to the fact that it will be theirs again.
To make matters even more stressful and tense, returning star Jarryd Hayne who has played well since his return last week went off injured, with what looked like a thigh injury of some sort.
With the shuffling the side went through when he was out, another injury to their key player is not what they need, as Eels coach Ricky Stuart said they and Jarryd hope that it was just a twinge.
“He thought he had stretched an old injury. He was hopeful he had just suffered a twinge. We definitely don’t need Jarryd Hayne on the sidelines,” Stuart said.
On the back of Hoffman’s great performance, it was inevitable that questions re: Ben Barba and the Broncos would come up, a topic that Brisbane coach Anthony Griffin chose to shy away from.
“I can’t talk to him. He’s contracted to Canterbury. You’d have to ask (Bulldogs coach) Des (Hasler),” he said.
3. Josh Hoffman
2. Josh McGuire
1. Tim Mannah