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The Brisbane Broncos have come from behind to defeat the Sydney Roosters 24-16 in the first NRL Qualifying Final at the Sydney Football Stadium tonight.
In an often brutal encounter, the match was marked by some big defence from both sides with Broncos forward Joel Clinton (concussion) and Roosters hooker Riley Brown (broken arm) being forced off in the first half. An ambulance was called for Brown who reportedly has suffered a broken arm in two places.
The Roosters set the standard early and dominated most of the first half to post a handy 16-8 lead at the break.
The second half however, was a diffferent story with the Broncos grinding their way back and going up a gear to score three unanswered tries.
A sensational Broncos team try in the 43rd minute, with no less than dozen sets of hands involved, provided the impetus for a tremendous comeback.
The final try came in the 60th minute when veteran forward Tonie Carroll crossed after linking up with skipper Darren Lockyer.
The Roosters continue to work hard to regain the lead, but appeared to run out of steam in the latter stages of what was a highly entertaining and physical match.
The result means the Roosters require two of the three lower placed teams (Raiders, Dragons and Warriors) to lose over the weekend in order to avoid elimination.
Match Details Brisbane Broncos 24 def Sydney Roosters 16 Finals - Week 1 - Friday :: September 12th, 2008 7:35pm Venue: Sydney Football Stadium Referee: Tony Archer Touch Judges: David Abood & Steve Chiddy Video Referee: Tim Mander Half time: Roosters 16-8 Crowd: 18,343
Sydney Roosters 16 Tries: Iosia Soliola, Anthony Tupou Goals: Craig Fitzgibbon (4/4) Brisbane Broncos 24 Tries: Peter Wallace, Denan Kemp, David Stagg, Tonie Carroll Goals: Corey Parker (2/2), Michael Ennis (2/3)
LeagueUnlimited.com Player of the Match 3 Points: Ben Hannant (Broncos) 2 Points: Peter Wallace (Broncos) 1 Point: Justin Hodges (Broncos)
LeagueUnlimited.com Live Commentary
Sydney Roosters (4th) V Brisbane Broncos (5th) - the opening match of week 1 of the 2008 NRL Finals series. Both teams coming off wins last weekend with the Roosters getting over the Dragons on a heavy track while Brisbane were outstanding against the Knights.
TEAMS Both coaches sticking with the top 17 line ups as named last Tuesday. Only one minor change with Roosters moving second row forward Anthony Cherrington into the run-on side, Anthony Tupou goes to the bench. Broncos unchanged 1 through to 17. ROOSTERS: 1. Anthony Minichiello 2. Brent Grose 3. Setaimata Sa 4. Sia Soliola 5. Sam Perrett 6. Braith Anasta 7. Mitchell Pearce 8. Mark O'Meley 9. Riley Brown 10. Lopini Paea 11. Nate Myles 16. Anthony Cherrington 13. Craig Fitzgibbon Interchange: 12. Anthony Tupou 14. Mickey Paea 15. David Shillington 17. James Aubusson COACH: Brad Fittler BRONCOS: 1. Karmichael Hunt 2. Darius Boyd 3. Joel Moon 4. Justin Hodges 5. Denan Kemp 6. Darren Lockyer (c) 7. Peter Wallace 8. Ben Hannant 9. Michael Ennis 10. Joel Clinton 11. Corey Parker 12. Sam Thaiday 13. Tonie Carroll Interchange: 14. David Stagg 15. Ashton Sims 16. Greg Eastwood 17. Nick Kenny COACH: Wayne Bennett
Over 18,000 fans at the SFS, weather is great for Friday night football. Teams getting ready to come onto the field. Teams on the field... kick off soon... ref blows time on... Roosters kicking off... KICK OFF!
3 min: INJURY - Broncos prop Joel Clinton is down and knocked out following a heavy tackle from Roosters forward Mark O'Meley. Clinton is eventually able to walk from the field with the trainer.
7 min: PENALTY GOAL Sydney Roosters Craig Fitzgibbon makes no mistake from 25m out and almost in front of the posts. Penalty given after Broncos backrower Sam Thaiday is pinned for offside. Roosters rewarded after getting a roll-on downfield and have started the stronger of the two sides - very physical opening encounter. Sydney Roosters 2-0
9 min: PENALTY GOAL Brisbane Broncos Corey Parker levels the scores, kicking from easy range just wide of the posts. Penalty against Roosters forward Nate Myles for tackling/taking out Broncos halfback Peter Wallace who was without the ball. 2 all
11 min: INJURY - Broncos hooker Michael Ennis cops a heavy knock while tackled with O'Meley coming in over the top and tad late. Ennis gets some treatment for a cut above the eye, he looks OK and its play on.
14 min: TRY Sydney Roosters Iosia Soliola intercepts a pass in the centres and runs an easy 30m to score under the posts. Conversion attempt by Craig Fitzgibbon successful. Sydney Roosters 8-2
20 min: INJURY NEWS - Roosters hooker Riley Brown was earlier forced from the field and has a suspected broken arm. Broncos' Joel Clinton apparently OK but unlikely to come back on the field.
25 min: TRY Sydney Roosters Backrower Anthony Tupou runs into a hole from 15m out and charges over to score just wide of the posts. About half a dozen players get into a bit of push and shove, and referee warns Tupou on the end of it. Conversion attempt by Fitzgibbon successful. Sydney Roosters 14-2
26 min: INJURY NEWS - The Roosters' Riley Brown reportedly has two breaks in the arm, the ambos have been called and he's off to hospital.
28 min: Exciting passage of play with the Roosters finding more holes in the Broncos defence before the Broncos counter attack. End to end play and at a fast pace.
30 min: Possible TRY to Broncos... Video ref looking at possible obstruction... VERDICT...
31 min: TRY Brisbane Broncos Halfback Peter Wallace gets the nod, forcing his way over 10m wide of the posts. Video ref giving the all clear to a decoy runner colliding with a defender. Conversion attempt by Parker successful. Sydney Roosters 14-8
32 min: From the restart, Braith Anasta for the Roosters kicks out on the full! Broncos penalty on halfway.
36 min: Roosters forward David Shillington puts a big shoulder charge on Corey Parker, smashing him and jolting the ball loose. Roosters players all high fives as they win possession from 30m out.
37 min: PENALTY GOAL Sydney Roosters Fitzgibbon 15m wide of the posts and 20m out is successful. Penalty against Broncos forward Greg Eastwood for a heavy tackle on Mitchell Pearce after he kicked the ball, deemed late by a touch judge report. Sydney Roosters 16-8
Half time: Roosters 16-8 Roosters have a handy lead in a physical encounter, both sides delivering some huge hits. First half possession is almost even, just favouring the Roosters. The penalties are even at 4-all. Roosters with a superior completion rate and doing more damage in defence. But there's only eight points in it and too early to write off the Broncos.
Second half underway...
43 min: TRY Brisbane Broncos Denan Kemp on the end of a tremendous team try with the ball going through a dozen sets of hands from half way before Kemp charged over 15m in from touch. Conversion attempt by Michael Ennis successful. Sydney Roosters 16-14
45 min: Broncos close with an overlap but are called back for a forward pass from dummy half. The Roosters off the hook and with an opportunity to counter attack.
47 min: 40/20 kick from Ennis and the Broncos with a big opportunity.
49 min: TRY Brisbane Broncos Forward David Stagg on the burst from close range after receiving a face pass from Wallace. Ennis conversion attempt, only 12m wide of the posts, hits the uprights and is unsuccessful. Brisbane Broncos 18-16
53 min: Possible TRY to Roosters... Video ref looking.... VERDICT... NO TRY! Following a kick, Setaimata Sa ruled to have knocked on while contesting the ball.
57 min: Broncos bomb a golden opportunity following a 60m break from centre Justin Hodges who is pulled down just short of the line. In the next play, the Broncos have an overlap but are unable to capitalise and knock-on the ball out wide.
60 min: TRY Brisbane Broncos Lock forward Tonie Carroll scores in his 206th first grade game, crashing over after being set up by skipper Darren Lockyer on the last tackle play. Conversion attempt 10m in from touch by Ennis is successful. Brisbane Broncos 24-16
66 min: A few errors starting the creep into the Roosters game. The Broncos experience showing at the back end of the encounter.
67 min: Broncos now with a repeat set, crucial point of the game... Roosters defend well out wide. Broncos backline attack stepping up but Soliola forces the ball carrier into touch. Roosters live to fight on.
70 min: Final 10 minutes now. Broncos overall with 58% possession. Roosters working it out in their own half.
72 min: Roosters lifting a gear and get a penalty when a support player is tackled. The penalty is right in front but they take the tap and are going for the four-pointer... Broncos defence holds and Broncos will now work the ball out of their own half.
75 min: Broncos with a penalty (Roosters markers not square) on the 4th tackle and 30m out from the Roosters goal line. They'll be right the attack again and the clock is now against the Roosters.
76 min: Possible TRY to Broncos... Video ref looking... VERDICT... NO TRY! Eastwood crashes over but obstruction is ruled against another Broncos player in the ruck.
79 min: Lockyer puts the boot to ball and finds touch deep in the Roosters half.
Full time: Broncos 24-16 A highly entertaining match with both sides giving it to each other. The first half mostly belonged to the Roosters but the Broncos came from behind to post a well deserved victory, while keeping the Roosters scoreless in the second half. The match was ultimately won on defence with Broncos prop Ben Hannant leading the way and earning top points as the LeagueUnlimited.com Player of the Match. Possession ended up favouring the Broncos at around 58%, penalties were 6-all.