FIRE DOUSED | After returning to finals action in 2015, the St George-Illawarra Dragons struggled un...
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Brisbane opened up the Dragons in the first half with a comfortable 24-4 lead after forty minutes. Ben Hunt was Brisbane's Commander in Chief as he led his side around the field and bagged two tries in the 8 point win.
The first points came as Ben Hunt crossed for his first in the 10th minute as he split the sliding Dragons defenders. His second came mid-way through the first half as his show and go fooled the Dragons again as he slipped over for the Broncos second try.
Justin Hodges has taken the opportunity to play at fullback with both hands and his skills provided the play for Matt Gillett to slice the Dragons line and extend the Broncos lead to 18-4 with 10 minutes until the break.
The second half saw a swing in momentum which came at the hands of referee Ben Cummins as he controversially sin binned Matt Gillett in the 54th minute. Gillett was ruled (wrongly) to be offside from a penalty tap as Benji Marshall bolted 40 metres downfield. It was later revealed, in a rare moment, that Cummins apologised to Gillett for his actions.
The Dragons when on to score three straight tries as Josh Dugan (54th minute), Joel Thompson (60th minute) and Peter Mata'utia (64th minute) cracked the shifting Broncos defence. The Dragons faithful full of hope as he surged back into the game.
Inside the final 15 minutes, the game was truly on as the sides battled with two points between them. Both teams playing for a spot in the finals but the Broncos kept their season alive with the final points posted by man of the moment, Matt Gillett in the 72nd minute.
Next week the Broncos head south to Melbourne as they face the Storm at AAMI Park. Meanwhile the Dragons travel up the M1 in preparation to battle the Newcastle Knights on Sunday afternoon.
LATE MAIL: Broncos - Todd Lowrie drops off the extended bench, otherwise they are unchanged.
Welcome to LeagueUnlimited's LIVE coverage from Suncorp Stadium as these two teams, Brisbane and St. George Illawarra battle for a top 8 spot. The loser tonight will say goodbye to their 2014 NRL finals dreams, while the winner will push onto the final round with a win required to secure a spot in the finals.
1: Finally underway here at Suncorp, kick off time at 7:59pm... Dragons kick off to give the Broncos first use.
1: Injury concern already for Brett Morris, he has his legs stretched apart. Trainer with him in back play
5: Justin Hodges receiving attention from the trainer after a big tackle. Meanwhile the Broncos place the grubber over the sideline 10 metres out from the try line. Dragons with the possession now.
5: First penalty of the game. Dale Copley offside at the ruck which gives the Dragons a full set from a touch finder on half way.
8: VIDEO REFEREE for the Broncos. We have a TRY for Ben Hunt! He has slipped over the try line as he darted between defenders. Looking at grounding here.
12: UNFORCED ERROR BRISBANE BRONCOS
Ben Hunt makes an unforced error.
Ben Hunt is ruled to have fumbled a broken play rush from the Dragons. Started with Benji Marshall who linked with Lesson Ah Mau who broke free in space, he bolted 30 metres. His pass finds Widdop who linked again with Benji who rocketed a long pass to Brett Morris. He fumbled it and Hunt was unable to clean up. Dragons with a scrum 10 metres out
13: Joel Thompson is held up in the in goal area. Back to the 10 metre line on the 4th tackle.
14: ZERO TACKLE for the Dragons, attacking 10 metres out as their pass was knocked down.
15: TRY ST. GEORGE ILLAWARRA DRAGONS
Scored by Jason Nightingale. Kick to come.
Jason Nightingale has leapt up above the pack off a Benji Marshall cross field kick. Pin-point and the Dragons strike back after a zero tackle set.
16: UNSUCCESSFUL CONVERSION ST. GEORGE ILLAWARRA DRAGONS
Conversion attempt by Gareth Widdop unsuccessful.
Gareth Widdop fails with the conversion from the eastern sideline of Suncorp Stadium, the Broncos hold a 2 point lead
19: UNFORCED ERROR ST. GEORGE ILLAWARRA DRAGONS
Josh Dugan makes an unforced error.
Josh Dugan has fumbled the pass as he attempted to link with Jason Nightingale as they created an overlap on the eastern side. Scrum for the Broncos 10 metres out
22: Gerard Beale tackled in the air, no penalty comes as he was forced back in goal. Line drop out for the Dragons to give the Broncos a repeat set.
23: VIDEO REFEREE for the Broncos. Ben Hunt has a TRY! Looking at knock on in the far corner.
23: TRY BRISBANE BRONCOS
Scored by Ben Hunt. Kick to come.
Ben Hunt gets the GREEN LIGHTS for his second four-pointer as the Broncos opened up the Dragons defence in broken play. He took a floating pass which started with an offload in the far corner from Jack Reed. Hunt with great speed to split the defenders which failed to cover.
27: Penalty to the Broncos, Will Matthews crowding the ruck. Brisbane kick for line and attack 10 metres inside the Dragons half.
29: TRY BRISBANE BRONCOS
Scored by Matt Gillett. Kick to come.
Matt Gillett has turned Gerard Beale into a speedbump and surged over for the Broncos. Justin Hodges with the perfect short pass to guide Gillett into the hole of the Dragons defence
33: Daniel Vidot makes a surging run over half way but he drops it. Dragons on the counter attack now.
33: Penalty to the Dragons, Ben Hannant offside at marker. Dragons attacking 20 metres out from the try line.
34: Gareth Widdop's kick is too long. Thompson chased but beaten as he raced for the bouncing ball. 20m tap for Brisbane
35: TRY BRISBANE BRONCOS
Scored by Daniel Vidot. Kick to come.
Andrew McCullough with a beautiful show and go split the markers. Daniel Vidot goes over easily on the eastern sideline with the overlap created on the far side. Brilliant try.
36: SUCCESSFUL CONVERSION BRISBANE BRONCOS
Conversion attempt by Corey Parker successful.
Corey Parker nails the conversion as they extend their lead to 20 points. Brisbane all over the Dragons as their quick fire attack has caught out the Dragons defenders again.
39: Jason Nightingale is ruled to knocked on and it's a line drop out for the Broncos. Repeat set just before the break
40: HALF TIME at Suncorp Stadium sees the Broncos in control over the Dragons, 24-4.
41: Second half is UNDERWAY as the Broncos kick off. Mike Cooper takes the first hit up for the second forty.
42: Andrew McCullough is held short of the try line and it's a change over for the Dragons.
43: Penalty comes for the Dragons after McCullough not clearing the ruck at the change over. Dragons on the attack short of the half way line.
44: Play resumes with a penalty for offside as Daniel Vidot limps behind the play after a break in play being assisted by the trainers.
46: UNFORCED ERROR BRISBANE BRONCOS
Alex Glenn makes an unforced error.
Alex Glenn is crushed in a behind tackle and the ball is dropped. Last tackle change over gives Dragons possession 10 metres off their try line.
47: Ben Hunt concedes the penalty for holding down in the ruck. Widdop fires the kick away and the Dragons attack 20 metres out from the try line
48: UNFORCED ERROR ST. GEORGE ILLAWARRA DRAGONS
Jason Nightingale makes an unforced error.
Jason Nightingale unable to take the inside offside, he fumbles into a Broncos player and it's a change over at the 10 metre line.
53: Penalty to the Dragons, Benji Marshall takes a quick tap and bolts 40 metres
54: SIN BIN
Matt Gillett is sent to the sin bin.
Matt Gillett has been marched for 10 minutes, Ben Cummins ruled him offside. The play when 40 metres and then the penalty comes again... craziness from the officials. Dragons on the attack with the Broncos down to 12.
54: VIDEO REFEREE for the Dragons. We have NO TRY for Josh Dugan. Looking at knock on
56: Josh Dugan is grabbing at his leg after being cleaned up as he kicked ahead on last tackle
57: Gerard Beale is trapped in goal. Line drop out and the Broncos as the kick chase is pin-point.
60: TRY ST. GEORGE ILLAWARRA DRAGONS
Scored by Joel Thompson. Kick to come.
Joel Thompson has burst through the line and charged 45 metres off a forward pass from Benji Marshall. Nothing we can do, points are on the board now as the Broncos defence failed to cover.
63: Matt Gillett is back on after being wrongly sin binned. Surely be fired up now as the Broncos conceded two tries in his absence.
64: TRY ST. GEORGE ILLAWARRA DRAGONS
Scored by Peter Mata'utia. Kick to come.
Peter Mata'utia finishes off a play which started with a step and offload from Benji Marshall. The Widdop long pass linked with Thompson who shifted to send Peter Mata'utia over in the corner.
69: UNFORCED ERROR ST. GEORGE ILLAWARRA DRAGONS
Trent Merrin makes an unforced error.
Trent Merrin fumbles the ball in the ruck and he isn't happy about it as the Broncos pack a scrum 30 metres out from the Dragons try line.
70: UNFORCED ERROR ST. GEORGE ILLAWARRA DRAGONS
Benji Marshall makes an unforced error.
Benji Marshall jumps out of the line and knocks down a floating pass, it's ZERO TACKLE for the Broncos 10 metres out
71: TRY BRISBANE BRONCOS
Scored by Matt Gillett. Kick to come.
Matt Gillett gets the GREEN LIGHTS as he surges over and powers under three Dragons defenders off a beautiful inside pass and the Broncos extend their lead.
74: Daniel Vidot is forced over the corner after the last tackle kick allowed to bounce, scrum packs for the Dragons 10 metres out from their own try line.
76: Change over but we have time off as the players come together with some pushes. Broncos with possession 40 metres out from the try line of the Dragons
77: UNFORCED ERROR ST. GEORGE ILLAWARRA DRAGONS
Gareth Widdop makes an unforced error.
Gareth Widdop jumped on the floating pass and it's a scrum for the Broncos...but replay showed it went backwards...Anyway we play on with a Broncos ball 15 metres out
78: Justin Hodges has tapped on a pass forward and it goes to ground. Scrum packs for the Dragons 10 metres from their own try line.
80: FULL TIME at Suncorp Stadium as seen the Broncos collect two points and march further onto the finals with a 30-22 victory over the Dragons.