Broncos dominate high scoring contest

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.


Match Details
St. George Illawarra Dragons 20 Brisbane Broncos 36
Venue: WIN Stadium
Crowd: 10526
Halftime Score: St. George Illawarra Dragons 10 Brisbane Broncos 18

LeagueUnlimited.com Players of the Match:
3 points - Ben Hunt
2 points - Jason Nightingale
1 point - Sam Thaiday

ST. GEORGE ILLAWARRA DRAGONS (20)
Tries: Jason Nightingale (2), Brett Morris, Gerard Beale
Field Goals:
Conversions: Gareth Widdop (2/4)
Penalty Goals:

BRISBANE BRONCOS (36)
Tries: Matt Gillett (2), Sam Thaiday, Todd Lowrie, Dale Copley, Ben Hunt
Field Goals:
Conversions: Corey Parker (6/6)
Penalty Goals:


LeagueUnlimited.com Live Commentary

TEAM NEWS | Not a lot to report tonight - the visiting Broncos are as per program, so David Hala drops off the five man bench. For the Dragons, Jack Stockwell will start at prop, as a result of Dan Hunt being out with a knee injury. Bronson Harrison drops off the bench. Despite rumours late in the week, Josh Dugan will NOT play.

Welcome to WIN Stadium, Wollongong - the first game of the 2014 season at the NSW South Coast venue and it pits the hosts - the stunningly unbeaten Dragons against fellow surprise packet Brisbane, who are only 2-and-1 through an amazing finish last Friday by premiers the Sydney Roosters. A bumper night of footy ahead - join us from 8pm.

UNDER 20's | Tonight's Holden Cup clash went the way of the Dragons, unbeaten in the juniors as well, 44-14 over the baby Broncos.

3: Early PENALTY to the Dragons after a few sets, they'll attack first off.

3: INJURY | Tyson Frizell (SGI) - late legs tackle from Matt Gillett it seems, but it's legal. Tyson is up and play goes on. Dragons 30m out on the third.

5: Another PENALTY to the Dragons, this time the Broncos have dragged Adam Quinlan into touch but the referee rules they've gone on with a little too much.

6: No luck for the Dragons, and the Broncos get out of their own end... and it's compounded by a penalty.

7: TRY BRISBANE BRONCOS
Scored by Matt Gillett. Kick to come.

Barba puts a ball inside for Jack Reed, who finds Matt Gillett in support - it's a TRY! Gillett opens the scoring.

9: VIDEO REFEREE possible Matt Gillett TRY for Brisbane. Checking grounding.

10: TRY BRISBANE BRONCOS
Scored by Matt Gillett. Kick to come.

Gillett picks up the scraps of a bizarre kick and it's been a frenetic start to this one from Brisbane! Double for big Matty!

11: SUCCESSFUL CONVERSION BRISBANE BRONCOS
Conversion attempt by Corey Parker successful.

Two from two for Parker and it's a stunner from out wide this one.

7: SUCCESSFUL CONVERSION BRISBANE BRONCOS
Conversion attempt by Corey Parker successful.

Parker converts the Gillett try.

14: Dragons now with their first taste of attacking footy since the 6th minute.

15: TRY ST. GEORGE ILLAWARRA DRAGONS
Scored by Jason Nightingale. Kick to come.

AIR NIGHTY! Widdop puts the ball high and across field... Jason Nightingale leaps out of nowhere and claims the ball, scoring the Dragons' first!

16: UNSUCCESSFUL CONVERSION ST. GEORGE ILLAWARRA DRAGONS
Conversion attempt by Gareth Widdop unsuccessful.

Widdop's stunning goalkicking form doesn't help him here, he's hit the upright.

19: TRY BRISBANE BRONCOS
Scored by Sam Thaiday. Kick to come.

Former Brisbane captain Sam Thaiday gets down low and goes, goes, TRY! Great power from big Sammy.

20: SUCCESSFUL CONVERSION BRISBANE BRONCOS
Conversion attempt by Corey Parker successful.

Big lead opening up for the Broncos as the rain starts to really tumble at WIN Stadium. Parker converts.

22: Gerard Beale concedes a costly PENALTY for the Dragons. Brisbane go from their own 20m to the Dragons 40m where a new set will start.

23: Last tackle Brisbane, the kick comes from the far side and comes down right in front of the posts... and WIDDOP rises above to claim it! Dragons need to play some good footy here to stay in the game.

24: UNFORCED ERROR BRISBANE BRONCOS
Sam Thaiday makes an unforced error.

Brisbane on the attack... and the slippery ball sees Thaiday spill it like a cake of soap. Dragons scrum on their own 10m.

27: Ben Barba is forced to clean up a last tackle Sam Williams grubber, and takes it into touch. It's a Dragons scrum 10m from Brisbane's line.

28: VIDEO REFEREE possible Dragons TRY to Brett Morris. Checking touchline.

28: TRY ST. GEORGE ILLAWARRA DRAGONS
Scored by Brett Morris. Kick to come.

It's a TRY! Quick hands out wide and Morris scores try 102 of a stellar career. He stays in well.

29: SUCCESSFUL CONVERSION ST. GEORGE ILLAWARRA DRAGONS
Conversion attempt by Gareth Widdop successful.

In the rain, with the floodlights... and he nails it. Margin closes to eight, great sideline conversion from Widdop.

31: Great footy from the Saints, they're rolling up the park and the Broncos are having trouble containing them!

32: VIDEO REFEREE possible Dragons NO TRY to Gerard Beale... checking tap-back and sideline.

33: It's NO TRY, knocked on is the ruling, it's a 20m tap for Brisbane.

33: UNFORCED ERROR BRISBANE BRONCOS
Ben Hunt makes an unforced error.

Unnecessary. Hunt throws a forward pass on halfway, gifting the Dragons possession.

33: Multiple errors early in the count and Brisbane have come up with it.

34: UNFORCED ERROR BRISBANE BRONCOS
Daniel Vidot makes an unforced error.

Ouch! Reed fires a perfect long-range offload to Vidot unmarked out wide... against his former club, Daniel's spilled it dead. Dragons 20m restart.

38: A double knock-on mid field after a Gareth Widdop chip - both Widdop and Ben Barba spilled it. Broncos scrum just short of halfway

40: And we have halftime - early parts dominated by Brisbane before the Dragons battled their way back into it.

41: We're back underway. Good start for the Dragons! VIDEO REFEREE possible TRY to Nightingale!

41: TRY ST. GEORGE ILLAWARRA DRAGONS
Scored by Jason Nightingale. Kick to come.

What a start! The Dragons go wide on their first set... Beale makes the break, kicks ahead, and Nightingale beats Hoffman to the bounce!

43: SUCCESSFUL CONVERSION ST. GEORGE ILLAWARRA DRAGONS
Conversion attempt by Gareth Widdop successful.

No problems for Widdop to convert. Gap shortens to just two, early in the half!

45: TRY BRISBANE BRONCOS
Scored by Todd Lowrie. Kick to come.

Soft, soft, soft. The Broncos shape to pass deep... and go short to the little man in Lowrie. He crashes over with barely a defender on him.

46: SUCCESSFUL CONVERSION BRISBANE BRONCOS
Conversion attempt by Corey Parker successful.

Parker has no trouble converting and Brisbane extended their lead once again.

49: A messy last tackle play for the Dragons means Nightingale is forced into an awkward punt from his own 30m line... the Broncos will attack from inside the Dragons half after Barba bought it back easily.

50: Penalty Dragons and the momentum starts to shift yet again...

51: UNFORCED ERROR BRISBANE BRONCOS
Lachlan Maranta makes an unforced error.

Young Lachlan spills the cross-field bomb, Dragons scrum feed 10m out from the Broncos line...

55: Both sides awarded penalties within a minute of each other. Both sides struggling to find the chalk in the last ten minutes.

59: Broncos force a line dropout. Could tie up the game here...

59: TRY BRISBANE BRONCOS
Scored by Dale Copley. Kick to come.

MASSIVE overlap out wide... they bunched up on the left and poor Quinlan was left on his own. Copley crashes over.

61: SUCCESSFUL CONVERSION BRISBANE BRONCOS
Conversion attempt by Corey Parker successful.

Fourteen point buffer now with Parker converting the Copley try.

63: Penalty Dragons. Widdop filthy at the referees who stopped him from taking a legitimate quick tap.

64: UNFORCED ERROR ST. GEORGE ILLAWARRA DRAGONS
Jason Nightingale makes an unforced error.

A flying Nightingale goes up for a cross-field bomb but can't grab it. Would've been a spectacular try otherwise! Broncos 20m restart.

66: TRY ST. GEORGE ILLAWARRA DRAGONS
Scored by Gerard Beale. Kick to come.

One of the best team tries you will EVER see! Quinlan with the initial break, then Farrell & Nightingale pitch in... Quinlan eventually brought down right touchline... they interchange the passing to the other side... and Beale exploits the overlap and SCORES!

67: UNSUCCESSFUL CONVERSION ST. GEORGE ILLAWARRA DRAGONS
Conversion attempt by Gareth Widdop unsuccessful.

No luck for Widdop this time. Thirteen to go, ten the difference.

71: Morris takes a high ball... Vidot tackles him in the air... no penalty? Poor refereeing there!

72: Dragons last tackle... Mitch Rein kicking? It goes high... high... and out. On the full. Awful.

73: TRY BRISBANE BRONCOS
Scored by Ben Hunt. Kick to come.

Tyson Frizell down injured in backplay, Dragons defending with 12, Brisbane execute a set play and Ben Hunt goes through untouched. That'll be it in terms of the result.

75: SUCCESSFUL CONVERSION BRISBANE BRONCOS
Conversion attempt by Corey Parker successful.

Conversion good from Parker.

75: Widdop attempts a short kickoff but can't quite get control. Broncos ball.

78: Play winding down now, Norman drills it into touch on the Dragons 20m. On the sideline, Corey Parker is squirting one of the broadcaster sideline interviewers with water.

79: VIDEO REFEREE possible TRY to the Dragons, checking grounding. it's Sam Williams the possible scorer.

79: NO TRY... it's a knock on after it loosened from Sam's grip and went into a Broncos player. 20m restart Brisbane.

That's all she wrote - a solid victory for Brisbane. Stay tuned for the match report.

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