Needing a win badly, it took a last-gasp field goal from Corey Norman to give the St George Illawarra Dragons a win over the Brisbane Broncos.
On a high from their win, it was soured by what could be a serious injury for departing Englishman Gareth Widdop.
Although the extent of his shoulder injury is unknown at this stage, the Dragons will sweat on the scan results.
Despite the Broncos given the favouritism, it was the Dragons who had the early running and momentum.
Their backs set the tone with strong, powerful runs, culminating in the first try.
It came from hooker Cameron McInnes who darted through the line from dummy half, dummied, fooled Darius Boyd and scored.
Just six minutes later, the Dragons would go over again.
It was Tim Lafai and Jordan Pereira who combined with a nice set play that saw the winger score.
With a 10-0 lead, the Dragons were on a roll and seemingly in control.
Momentum is everything, however, as an error and a poorly timed kick led to two Broncos tries.
One came after a Mikaele Ravalawa error that saw Corey Oates scoop the ball up to score.
Then James Roberts plucked a Widdop kick from thin air and raced away to score.
The Dragons yet again started the half stronger.
Ravalawa atoned for his errors as he finished some good lead-up play from Ben Hunt.
Try as they might, though, the Dragons just could not pull away and the Broncos again equalised.
Anthony Milford’s deft grubber found a charging Alex Glenn who was quickest to the ball.
Like a swinging pendulum, the Dragons again took the lead as Korbin Sims powered his way over against his former side.
Jack Bird made it interesting and tense when he scored to lock the scores up at 24-all.
Then, with the game nearing its final second, Norman stood up to the plate and calmly slotted a field goal.
In a much-needed win for the Dragons, the pressure is off coach Paul McGregor. For now.
McGregor did not mince his words when it came to Widdop’s injury.
“Unfortunately tonight, we lost Gaz. It is bad,” McGregor said.
“I’m not a doctor but he’s uncomfortable. It’s dislocated.
“We have got a ready-made replacement in Dufty.”
McGregor also praised Norman for how he played and his calm nature to slot the winning field goal.
“Corey is one of those players that goes to the game in important moments, and that is what you want from your playmakers,” McGregor said.
Dominated by the Dragons forwards in the end, Broncos coach Anthony Seibold admits it was a reality check for his side’s young pack.
“He was coming up against experienced pros like James Graham, Tariq Sims and Paul Vaughan when he was probably on top of the world for the last six days after the Cowboys game,” Seibold said.
“A lot of people in the press were talking about him being the next Shane Webcke, which I can’t quite understand when you are two games into your NRL career.”
NRL News Player of the Game
3. James Graham
2. Corey Norman
- Alex Glenn