The Brisbane Broncos ended the St George Illawarra Dragons’ unbeaten start to 2014 with an impressive 36-20 triumph at WIN Stadium, Wollongong tonight.
The Broncos raced to an early 12-0 lead and went on with the job in the second half to record the win in front of a disappointing crowd of 10,500.
Broncos lock Matt Gillett opened the scoring after just seven minutes and Corey Parker added the extras for a 6-0 lead. They doubled their lead 4 minutes later through Gillett again. Parker made no mistake and the Broncos held a handy 12-0 lead after just 11 minutes.
The Dragons hit back through winger Jason Nightingale after 15 minutes to get back into the contest. Gareth Widdop’s conversion attempt hit the uprights to leave the game in the balance at 12-4.
The Dragons conceded a soft try to Sam Thaiday from close range in the 20th minute and Parker converted to make it 18-4, a fair indication of the Broncos’ dominance of the match.
After 27 minutes a great offload by Gerard Beale found Brett Morris who scored his 31st try in as many games at the venue. Widdop’s fantastic sideline conversion made it 18-10. The Dragons came close to adding a third through Beale 8 minutes from half time only to be denied by the video ref, and the Broncos held a well deserved 18-10 advantage after an entertaining first half.
The Dragons hit back in the 1st minute of the second half with a converted try to Nightingale, his second of the night. At 18-16, the Dragons were right back in the match.
Veteran Todd Lowrie made a mockery of the Dragons’ defence in the 46th minute with a simple try. Parker’s perfect night with the boot continued, and the Broncos led 24-16.
A decisive try to Broncos centre Dale Copley with 20 minutes gave the Broncos a formidable lead and Parker’s conversion made it 30-16.
The Dragons went 100m in the next set with some sublime rugby league that ended with Gerard Beale crossing in the left corner. Widdop couldn’t add the extras and the Dragons trailed 30-20 with 15 minutes left.
With 7 minutes left, Broncos half back Ben Hunt added more misery for Dragons fans with another easy try to ice the game. Parker’s 6th conversion of the night ensured victory for the Broncos who were excellent from start to finish while the Dragons have some work to do ahead of next week’s Heritage Round clash against the South Sydney Rabbitohs at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
Brisbane Broncos 36(Gillett 2, Thaiday, Copley, Hunt, Lowrie tries; Parker 6 goals) defeated St George Illawarra Dragons 20 (Nightingale 2, Morris, Beale tries; Widdop 2 goals) at WIN Stadium in Wollongong.