The Brisbane Broncos have bounced back into the winners circle, ending the Dragons' unbeaten run with a 36-20 victory at WIN Stadium, Wollongong tonight in front of 10,526 fans.
Brisbane came bursting out of the blocks, scoring twice in the space of three minutes after sustaining early pressure from the Dragons. Matt Gillett was the scorer on both occasions before the hosts hit back through a superb aerial display from winger Jason Nightingale.
The see-sawing nature of the contest continued despite the Broncos never trailing - the Dragons wrestled back the momentum inside the final 15 minutes of the first half, including a important try in the corner to winger Brett Morris. Going into the break trailing 18-10, the Dragons backed up their strong finish with an even better start to the second half, putting together an outstanding try off their first set. It was Nightingale's second of the night, beating Josh Hoffman to the ball off a Gerard Beale chip ahead.
Sadly for the Dragons, their defence steel didn't match their enterprising attack - just one set after their try, Todd Lowrie ran onto a short-ball and scored almost untouched. The home side's poor organisation in defence was exposed again at the hour mark when the Broncos extended their lead to 14 points.
The highlight of the night did come from the losing side however, with a length-of-the-field effort started by Adam Quinlan in picking off a Broncos kick near his own line. He avoided several defenders before linking up with Dylan Farrell, who also had Jason Nightingale in support. Great hands from the pair eventually fed the ball back to Quinlan, who was grounded 20m from the Broncos line. The next play saw the Dragons spread the ball left against a back-tracking Broncos defensive line... Gerard Beale taking full advantage to reduce the margin to ten.
Brisbane went on to control the game from there, adding another try through Ben Hunt in the final ten minutes, before the Dragons were denied a late consolation. The Saints will be hoping to welcome back Josh Dugan for some attacking spark and defensive mettle at the back when they host the Rabbitohs next Saturday night at the SCG, while Brisbane will take confidence from tonight's showing into a clash with the inconsistent Parramatta Eels next Friday back up at Suncorp.