Matt Pritchard reviews Brisbane Broncos upset win over the Sydney Roosters on a highly controversial night at the Sydney Cricket Ground. Here’s how the game went.
Tries: Angus Crichton (24), Daniel Tupou (30), Sitili Tupouniua (33)
Goals: Sam Walker (32), Adam Keighran (73 – pen)
Tries: Dale Copley (8), David Mead (14, 38, 45), John Asiata (45), Keenan Palasia (59)
Goals: Jamayne Isaako (9, 39, 47, 61, 79)
Player of the Year PointsEmbed from Getty Images
3 pts – Matt Lodge (Broncos)
2 pts – David Mead (Broncos)
1 pt – James Tedesco (Roosters)
MATCH REPORTEmbed from Getty Images
Clear conditions greeted the fifth-placed Roosters and 15th-placed Broncos at the Sydney Cricket Ground in the second game of Super Saturday.
In the most anticipated debut this NRL season, 17-year old Joseph Suaalii ran out in the Sydney Roosters starting 13 after the withdrawal of Josh Morris through injury.
Albert Kelly played his first NRL game since 2014 after a stint in Super League with Hull Kingston Rovers and Hull FC. It was a less than memorable start as his first kick sailed across the sideline on the full.
Surprisingly, the Broncos went over after five minutes with Tyson Gamble’s kick tapped by Dale Copley into the hands of Tevita Panagai Junior to score. After initially being awarded a try, the Bunker ruled that Copley had tapped the ball forward. Straight after the decision was made, a scuffle broke out between the two sides, with Pangai Junior and Victor Radley involved.
Camped on the Roosters’ line, the visitors crossed with Pangai Junior’s flick pass sending Copley over. Jamayne Isaako converted to give the Broncos a six-point advantage after nine minutes.
The foul play crackdown again raised controversy after Radley was given 10 minutes for tackling Kelly after he kicked: the referee saying the incident was “high and forceful”.
Brisbane took advantage of Radley being off the field, exposing the Roosters’ right hand defence as David Mead scored their second. Isaako couldn’t convert.
It took 25 minutes for the Roosters to score, with Angus Crichton running over the top of Jesse Arthurs on his way to the line. Sam Walker’s conversion missed and the Broncos maintained their six-point lead.
Five minutes later and the Roosters had their second: James Tedesco’s long ball hitting the chest of Daniel Tupou for the four-pointer. Walker – from the sideline – converted the try which saw scores level at 10-all.
The Sydney Roosters were well on top as half-time approached, with Tedesco putting Sitili Tupouniua into a gap and over for their side’s third. Walker failed to convert.
Against the run of play, Mead took an intercept off Walker’s pass which saw the veteran winger run the distance of the field to score. Isaako converted from in front and Brisbane were shock leaders at half-time.
HALF-TIME: Sydney Roosters 14 Brisbane Broncos 16Embed from Getty Images
There was early drama in the second half after Radley led with the shoulder on Pangai Junior as Broncos attacked the Roosters line. Correctly this time, Radley was placed on report (for a second time) and sat down for a further ten minutes.
During Radley’s absence Brisbane went further ahead with Kelly kicking deep in-goal for Josh Asiata to score. Isaako converted to extend the lead to eight points.
The Roosters had the next best opportunity for points but shot themselves in the foot when Walker’s pass to Nat Butcher went clearly forward. But it would be Brisbane who’d benefit from a favourable call when Asiata’s forward pass saw Keenan Palasia break through the Roosters wall to score on the hour. Isaako’s conversion was good and the Broncos led 28-14 and their Sydney drought appeared over.
The game exploded in the last fifteen minutes with a fired up Radley continuing to play aggressive. He was placed on report for a third time for a high tackle. Soon after the two teams came together when Radley raced off the line to put a hit on Xavier Coates. He was reported for a fourth time for his contact with the Broncos winger on the ground. Matt Lodge took Radley high and was placed on report and received ten minutes in the sin bin.
Thomas Flegler was also reported for a high tackle ‘slap’ which gifted Adam Keighran two points from close range which saw the Broncos lead reduce to 12.
A last ditch attempt from the Roosters to make it a grandstand finish broke down after Tupouniua found space down the right hand sideline and the pass back on the inside sail forward.
The nail in the coffin came from a Roosters mistake picked up by Flegler which saw him find a flying Mead to complete his hat-trick. Isaako’s conversion made it 34-16.
Tyson Gamble was sent to the sin bin on full-time for a professional foul.
Brisbane completing their first win in Sydney since July 7 2019 when they beat Cronulla by two. Lodge and Tevita Pangai Junior in fine form up front for the winners. Sydney Roosters never really settled with the exception of a ten minute period where they scored three tries before half time, all set up by Tedesco. For all the hype Joseph Suaalii’s game was quiet, overshadowed by the side’s loss and Radley’s horror night.
More questions will be raised about the use of the sin bin under the new NRL crackdown and several poor referee calls on forward passes which were missed. The six players on report are Jared Waerea-Hargreaves (9th), Victor Radley (12th, 42nd, 66th, 69th), Isaac Liu (16th), Tyson Gamble (54th), Joseph Manu (56th, 59th), Thomas Flegler (73rd). How many will be charged by the Match Review? It will be one busy review for the Committee.
FULL-TIME: Sydney Roosters 16 Brisbane Broncos 34
to be advised
Match Review Committee
Angus Crichton (Roosters) – Grade 1 Dangerous Contact Other – Early Guilty Plea 2 match ban, Guilty at Judiciary 2 match ban.
Victor Radley (Roosters) – Grade 1 Dangerous Contact Head/Neck – Early Guilty Plea 1 match ban, Guilty at Judiciary 1 match ban.
Victor Radley (Roosters) – Grade 2 High Tackle Careless – Early Guilty Plea 3 match ban, Guilty at Judiciary 4 match ban.
Tyson Gamble (Broncos) – Grade 1 Crusher Tackle – Early Guilty Plea 1 match ban, Guilty at Judiciary 2 match ban.
Joseph Manu (Roosters) – Grade 1 High Tackle Careless – Early Guilty Plea $1150 fine, Guilty at Judiciary $1500 fine.
David Mead (Broncos) – Grade 1 Contrary Conduct – Early Guilty Plea $750 fine, Guilty at Judiciary $1150 fine.
Matt Lodge (Broncos) – Grade 1 High Tackle Careless – Early Guilty Plea 1 match ban, Guilty at Judiciary 1 match ban.