The Brisbane Broncos and St George Illawarra Dragons return to the same venue of last seasons Elimination Final, entering this game under similar circumstances, as we kick of Round 3 of 2019 at Suncorp Stadium
The St George Illawarra Dragons have begun the year with no luck. Through all three games they have showed some impressive glimpses of what they could achieve this year. But then have let slip the advantage gained by their forwards through silly mistakes and drops in intensity. This was evident in the first half of the game against the Broncos. While the Broncos definitely dug deep to keep themselves in the contest, they were fortunate to get their points against the run of play. The first to Corey Oates off a Ravalawa mistake and the second from an innocuous kick, lapped up by James Roberts, who was never going to be caught. The Broncos went into half time 12-10 up after a great start from the Dragons, where they turned their momentum into tries for Cameron McInnes and Jordan Pereira.
The Dragons didn’t let the late setbacks get them down and began the second half with the momentum. Mikaewle Ravalawa crossed for his first try and they followed that up with a penalty goal to put themselves ahead by 6. Then not long after that, the momentum swung back to the Broncos off the back of some penalties. They were able to cross the line through Alex Glenn after a clever Milford grubber caught the fullback out of position. Then Korbin was next over the line, scoring for his new team against his old team and giving the Dragons the lead with 18 to go. The Dragons attempted to control the later stages but the Broncos rallied, and after a mistake from Widdop-where he reinjured his shoulder-Jack Bird levelled the scores. It took until the final second, after a missed attempt from the Broncos, and a seven tackle set, for Corey Norman to give the Dragons their first win of the year. His field goal ending a fantastic encounter on Thursday night by 25-24.
With two international forwards out on the sidelines, it’s always been important for the Dragons reserve players to stand up. Blake Lawrie and Jacob Host have been in-and-out of first grade for the past few seasons and appear ready to step up into a permanent place in the team. Their involvements in attack and defence was helpful in gaining momentum and should put them in good stead when their internationals return.
COREY TAKES THE GAME
In the opening rounds the form of Corey Norman has been solid and he’s put in the early efforts to ensure he will have a big season ahead. His importance to the team will be essential in the next few months with the possible long term injury to captain Gareth Widdop. His touches and involvement was instrumental in setting up the match, and the winning field goal certainly went along way.
The Broncos can hold their heads high after the start to year despite being 1-2. Their two losses were games they weren’t at their best but they stuck solid in defence and were still able to find points to keep themselves in the game. The Broncos ball control for this match was at times abysmal, and, if not for their strong defence, should never have been as close as they were allowed.
KOTONI NEEDS TIME
Kotoni Staggs involvement in the game came late but certainly helped set the stage for an exciting finish. His opportunities for longer minutes will come throughout the season but the Broncos will find a lot of success by bringing him into games earlier. There is great potential between him and linking with the two agile halves through the middle of the field.
Brisbane Broncos 24
Tries: Corey Oates, James Roberts, Alex Glenn, Jack Bird
Goals: Jamayne Isaako 4/4
St George Illawarra Dragons 25
Tries: Cameron McInnes, Jordan Pereira, Mikaele Ravalawa, Korbin Sims
Goals: Gareth Widdop 4/5
Drop Goals: Corey Norman
Brisbane Broncos: 1 Darius Boyd 2 Corey Oates 3 James Roberts 4 Jack Bird 5 Jamayne Isaako 6 Anthony Milford 7 Kodi Nikorima 8 Tevita Pangai Jr 9 Andrew McCullough 10 Joe Ofahengaue 11 Alex Glenn 12 David Fifita 13 Matt Gillett. Interchange: 14 Kotoni Staggs 15 Jaydn Su’a 16 Thomas Flegler 17 Shaun Fensom
St George Illawarra Dragons: 1 Gareth Widdop 2 Jordan Pereira 3 Euan Aitken 4 Tim Lafai 5 Mikaele Ravalawa 6 Corey Norman 7 Ben Hunt 8 James Graham 9 Cameron McInnes 10 Paul Vaughan 11 Jacob Host 12 Tariq Sims 13 Blake Lawrie. Interchange: 14 Jeremy Latimore 16 Korbin Sims 17 Luciano Leilua 18 Zac Lomax