Defence wins you games
In the pouring rain at WIN Stadium, Brisbane Broncos ground out a tough win against St George Illawarra Dragons to bounce back from back-to-back defeats on Thursday night. It was a typical wet weather game, with both sides playing simple football as they tried to avoid making errors in the poor conditions.
Brisbane controlled the game well, as they completed at a high rate and took their chances when they came. The first was a penalty goal after four minutes which Corey Parker knocked over, and after Gareth Widdop added one of his own Sam Thaiday pounced on Anthony Milford’s grubber to score. Lachlan Maranta crossed in the right corner on the hour mark thanks to a trademark cut-out ball from Darius Boyd, and their defence held strong to do just about enough to pick up the two points.
The Dragons could only post two points in the opening 76 minutes, although they went agonisingly close through Kurt Mann early in the second period. Debutant Luciano Leilua started a break which ended in Widdop kicking for the corner, and despite chasing the kick down and grounding the ball cleanly, Mann knocked on in the initial pick up.
With the game petering out the hosts set up a frantic finish, as Widdop timed his run perfectly onto Benji Marshall’s high bomb to cross untouched for a six point try. Time was against the Dragons but a Corey Oates knock-on on his own try line gave the Red V one last shot inside the final minute. It wasn’t to be though as a knock on from the resulting scrum confirmed the win for the Broncos.
Four still in reach
After losing their last two games it was a massive win for Wayne Bennett’s side, as they all but confirmed finals footy and kept themselves in the running for a top four finish. Although it is an uphill battle for the Broncos, if they can string together a good run in the final four rounds they could sneak into the four, and give themselves a chance of going one better than last year’s Grand Final defeat.
Dragons down and out
After five straight defeats, the Dragons chances of making the top eight have taken a huge blow with the defeat. It isn’t about effort, they simply lacked creativity in the tough conditions and couldn’t take their chances, in contrast to their opponents. Even though they are only two points outside the eight the teams above them are still yet to play in Round 22, and with only four rounds remaining they will need a 100% record in the run-in if they are to give themselves a chance of competing in the finals.
St George Illawarra Dragons
Tries: Widdop (76)
Goals: Widdop 2/2
Tries: Thaiday (23), Maranta (60)
Goals: Parker 2/3
St George Illawarra Dragons:
Adam Quinlan, Kurt Mann, Euan Aitken, Taane Milne, Jason Nightingale, Gareth Widdop, Benji Marshall, Russell Packer, Jake Marketo, Mike Cooper, Tyrone McCarthy, Will Matthews, Jack de Belin Subs: Mitch Rein, Tariq Sims, Jacob Host, Luciano Leilua
Darius Boyd, Corey Oates, Tom Opacic, James Roberts, Lachlan Maranta, Anthony Milford, Ben Hunt, Josh McGuire, Andrew McCullough, Adam Blair, Sam Thaiday, Matt Gillett, Corey Parker Subs: Jarrod Wallace, Tevita Pangai Junior, Jai Arrow, Alex Glenn