Andrew Pelechaty reviews the Saturday night clash between Brisbane and Canberra …
Brisbane Broncos 24
Tries: Ezra Mam (8), Jordan Pereira (21), Herbie Farnworth (33, 42)
Goals: Adam Reynolds (8, 21, 42, 54 – pen)
Canberra Raiders 18
Tries: Nick Cotric (16), Corey Horsburgh (26), Adam Elliott (37)
Goals: Jamal Fogarty (18, 27, 39)
MATCH REPORTEmbed from Getty Images
A big change for Canberra early with Corey Horsburgh starting for Josh Papalii. It was a reward for Big Red’s fine game last week, and also a chance to ease Papa back in after Origin.
Brisbane won an early Captain’s Challenge when Hudson Young stripped the ball (legally) from Adam Reynolds, but the Broncos half regathered it. Brisbane took advantage (helped by a couple of Six Agains) when Ezra Mam stepped and scored close to the line. Reynolds converted to give Brisbane a 6-0 lead after eight minutes.
Another boost for Brisbane with a knock on from Xavier Savage, but the Broncos couldn’t take advantage this time.
Canberra had a couple of chances to score, but Brisbane held on.
Canberra finally struck with a beautiful cross-field kick from Jamal Fogarty, which was taken by Nick Cotric. Fogarty converted to tie the game at 6-6 after 18 minutes.
Another blow for Canberra with Savage dropping a bomb. Brisbane made him pay, with Brenko Lee scoring. Reynolds converted as Brisbane led 12-6.
Horsburgh justified his starting spot with a close-range try. Fogarty tied the game at 12-12 after 26 minutes.
A blow for Payne Haas, leaving the field with a right shoulder injury.
Canberra had a huge chance to score when Savage broke clear, but his pass to Fogarty was too late and was dropped. A huge let off for Brisbane.
Herbie Farnworth got Brisbane back in front as the Broncos spread to the right, with the Lancastrian scoring in the corner. Reynolds missed the conversion as Brisbane led 16-12 close to half-time.
Canberra got a chance to strike back with an obstruction penalty. Adam Elliott made sure Brisbane paid with a try. Fogarty converted to give Canberra an 18-16 half-time lead.
HALF-TIME: Brisbane Broncos 16 Canberra Raiders 18Embed from Getty Images
Bad news for Brisbane, with Haas not returning. This would not only have repercussions for tonight, but for Origin II in a couple of weeks, with NSW needing a win to keep the series alive.
Brisbane responded with Farnworth scoring his second try, sparked by a line break from Billy Walters. It continued the try-for-try pattern of the night. Reynolds converted to give Brisbane a 22-18 lead.
A piggyback penalty from the kick-off got Brisbane back in the scoring zone, but Corey Oates was taken into touch.
The pressure seemed to mount on Canberra, with too many penalties giving Brisbane easy metres.
Reynolds kicked a penalty goal to give Brisbane a 24-18 lead, but he looked to be struggling with a rib injury, though he was refusing to leave the field until he was forced to. But the Raiders continued to shoot themselves in the foot with too many errors.
More bad news for the Broncos, with Farnworth off the field with a bicep injury, decimating Brisbane’s bench even further. It would be one of their bravest ever wins if they could hang on.
Canberra forced a repeat set with a goal-line drop out, and on the next set Jack Wighton was held up over the line. Somehow Brisbane held on and Canberra made another unforced error. After an encouraging last few weeks, the undisciplined Raiders from earlier this season was returning.
Canberra lost a Captain’s Challenge when Joe Tapine (easily Canberra’s best tonight) had a rare knock on. The 13 errors to five (so far) summed up Canberra’s frustrating second half, but Tom Starling gave them a reprieve with a one-on-one strip and later forced a goal-line drop out, but more errors hurt them.
More drama for Brisbane, with Mam off for a HIA with a minute left, but Horsburgh’s error killed the game for Canberra.
A brave Brisbane extended their winning streak to seven, while it was a frustrating regression for Canberra after a strong last few weeks, with a scoreless second half. With Brisbane absolutely shot with injuries, maybe Canberra was guilty of trying too hard to force the issue. Regardless, if Brisbane make the top four come September, they can look at tonight’s game as a turning point.
FULL-TIME: Brisbane Broncos 24 Canberra Raiders 18
PLAYER OF THE YEAR POINTSEmbed from Getty Images
3 pts – Adam Reynolds (Broncos), 2 pts – Herbie Farnworth (Broncos), 1 pt – Joseph Tapine (Raiders)
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