It may have been the best game of the season for Kotoni Staggs but it was not enough for the Brisbane Broncos to get the win against the Sydney Roosters.
At Suncorp Stadium, in front of a vocal home crowd, the Broncos started the brighter of the two sides and pushed the Broncos to the edge several times.
Although they could not score points early, the Broncos would eventually open the scoring courtesy of veteran winger Corey Oates.
Oates was on the receiving end of a cut-out pass from fullback Tesi Niu to score.
It could have been even more early on, had Selwyn Cobbo not fumbled the ball in the in-goal with a try in sight.
And then step up, Mr. Staggs. His game-breaking ability has been on show before but he started poorly in 2022.
Broncos fans will hope this was his breakout game of the season as he bulldozed past several defenders to score a nice solo try before halftime.
The Roosters came out with renewed intensity in the second half as Angus Crichton combined with Sam Walker for the half to score.
Joseph Manu then showed his ability to put the Roosters ahead, as he started an attacking raid with an intercept.
Manu would complete the play when he scored from dummy half soon after.
Staggs was determined to put the Broncos on the front foot again and he did so with some steely defensive resolve.
His work enabled the Broncos to score courtesy of Oates who leaped over Kevin Naiqama to catch a bomb from Adam Reynolds.
Manu would score a second try from dummy half, cementing his spot as an elite centre and potentially the best in the game.
A grubber from Walker that saw Sitili Tupouniua seemed to seal the win for the Roosters but it went down to the wire.
With just 90 seconds on the clock, Oates completed a hat-trick when he won the race to the ball off a Reynolds grubber.
Kevin Walters said it was his side’s character that impressed him most and he wants to see that every week.
“If we can provide that character every week, we are going to be a good footy side,” Walters said.
“We only got two good ball sets in the second half, apart from that I thought defensively we were good.”
Trent Robinson praised his Roosters side for being able to win in a different situation.
As a team, we played really well and you’ve got to learn to win in lots of different ways in rugby league,” Robinson said.
“You can put your foot to the floor and gap a team but you have got to win uncomfortable as well and I felt like early in the season for us, trying to find our new our new self, that was a great way to win a footy game.”
NRL News Player of the Game
3. Joseph Manu (SYD)
2. Kotoni Staggs (BRI)
1. Corey Oates (BRI)