Time to look ahead to Sunday's decider! Rob Crosby has a full look at both teams and what to expect ...
26 hours ago
Brisbane have continued their winning tradition in Sydney's South West with a tough 16-14 victory over the Wests Tigers in front of 16,511 fans at Campbelltown Sports Ground.
It was a game for the people who are on the side of the NRL competition being stopped during the origin period, as a Tigers and Broncos contest didn't reach any great heights without six origin stars on either side. The two teams played like strangers who met earlier in the afternoon with the amount of simple errors committed.
The first half would be generous to describe as NRL level with both teams combining to only produce six points but almost double that in errors and penalties conceded. Brisbane scored the only points seven minutes in when Ben Hunt who starred in a mediocre field spotted Corey Oates running a tempting line for the second rower to crash through some weak defense.
The Tigers were missing captain Robbie Farah thus the responsibility fell to young halfback Luke Brooks who was the focal point of the Tigers attack throughout the night. He produced a stunning solo effort just after halftime, playing an unintended but worthwhile 1-2 with Ben Barba from a rebound kick to scoot through. His Del Piero moment and Richards kicking would torment the Broncos back three in the second half.
For the final half hour - there remained three protagonists in the denouement of the contest. The halfbacks of either side - Ben Hunt and Luke Brooks with a capable assist of Pat Richards kicking boots. Hunt struck first with the first of two penalty goals in the 45th minute to put Brisbane ahead again.
Pat Richards and his kicking will torment Ben Barba in his dreams tonight - the fullback allowing the return to bounce gifting Brooks and the Tigers field position. Although the scoreboard didn't tick, it set the scene for the second Tigers try in the 59th minute. Lachlan Maranta this time misjudged dropout from Richards.
His error gave the Tigers field position and a full set to work with. Luke Brooks once again showing off his short kicking game putting a grubber across the ruck for Bodene Thompson to give the Tigers a deserved 12-8 lead with a quarter of the game to play.
Over to you Mr Hunt. The Broncos halfback working from a simple piggyback from Keith Galloway hung a kick up for Dale Copley who feed an inside ball for Corey Oates for a simple brace. Hunt added the conversion and the Broncos were once again ahead by a single penalty goal.
Once again though, Brisbane clocked off following points. They conceded a penalty forty metres from their own line allowing the Tigers to flirt with the idea of a penalty goal. Pat Richards who had a golden boot through the night stepped up and calmly put the penalty goal through the sticks. 14 a piece, thirteen to go.
The game which didn't reach great heights seemed fitting to be decided by a penalty goal. Ben Hunt once again taking it upon his shoulders to kick them into the lead after Maranta was taken out without the ball. Hunt struck a wobbly kick but no matter it went through the sticks to put Brisbane ahead for the fourth and final time. They held on despite a three minute flurry from the Tigers to continue the joint venture's hoodoo at their own stadium.
Wests Tigers 14 Brisbane Broncos 16
Venue: Campbelltown Stadium
Halftime Score: Wests Tigers 0 Brisbane Broncos 6
LeagueUnlimited.com Players of the Match:
3 points - Ben Hunt
2 points - Luke Brooks
1 point - Pat Richards
LeagueUnlimited.com Live Commentary
There is isn't many changes for tonight's clash at Campbelltown Sports Ground. The home side are as per program while the visitors have a single change on the bench - Jake Granville comes off the bench for Francis Molo.
Welcome to Campbelltown Sports Ground! It is the venue for the for tonight's contest in more of a sedate Saturday with only two matches on offer with this being the last offering. Wests are celebrating 15 years of the joint venture by heading back to one of their home grounds following a close 22-20 victory over the Cronulla Sharks while Brisbane were dominant in a 22-8 victory over the Gold Coast Titans.
Of course we are in the split round fixtures - Wests will be missing both Robbie Farah and Aaron Woods while Brisbane are missing Justin Hodges Matt Gillett and Corey Parker through representative honours.
Here come the Broncos onto the turf at Campbelltown in front of a packed crowd who give them the proper welcome for an away side. Next out is the Wests Tigers wearing their black with orange and white jersey to a huge roar from the Campbelltown faithful. They take residence in the northern end of the stadium.
KICK-OFF! Wests Tigers with first use.
2: PENALTY Brisbane - the kick rebounded off one Tiger into Simona's hands. The centre was offside so it was a penalty.
3: UNFORCED ERROR BRISBANE BRONCOS
Daniel Vidot makes an unforced error.
It was well worked by the Broncos until the final play. Jack Reed gave it to Daniel Vidot who stepped inside ready to put it down but he got it stripped by David Nofoaluma.
5: PENALTY Broncos - they lead 2-0 in the count early. They will get another shot at the Tigers line.
6: TRY BRISBANE BRONCOS
Scored by Corey Oates. Kick to come.
Ben Hunt with a lovely flat ball there - he sensed Corey Oates was steaming through the line and found the secondrower who wasn't going to be stopped on the pursuit of the tryline.
9: UNFORCED ERROR BRISBANE BRONCOS
Dale Copley makes an unforced error.
Hunt and McCullough created the overlap trying to put Copley away although the centre can't hold the pass.
9: Tigers from the resulting scrum, try their hand down the short side and Lawrence is bundled out.
17: SIX MORE Tigers as they are working their way back into it.
20: The game is settling into a pattern here with both teams getting through their sets.
21: Delayed PENALTY for a strip against the Tigers defenders. Jack Reed suckered them into that one. That the Broncos fourth penalty.
27: Well played everyone there! Broncos tried to shift it wide before the ball hit the turf allowing Richards to toe it through for himself. He was left to take on a fast finishing Barba who forced him firstly wide then a pass to Nofoaluma who was taken out.
29: UNFORCED ERROR WESTS TIGERS
Pat Richards makes an unforced error.
Ben Hunt tried to conjure a backline movement from his own line. His pass was tipped high by Richards who can't reel it in for a simple try.
30: Tigers are trying to slow down the roll the Broncos forwards are generating here. They are pinged for a hand on the ball PENALTY.
32: The crowd exploded for that PENALTY. Broncos markers were called offside but they still made the tackle.
33: Tigers finally found some rhythm in their passing but Nofoaluma wasn't hugging the touchline, so it rolled over the sideline.
35: Neither team are respecting the football here. Tigers knocked it on coming out of their own half.
40: Daniel Vidot just watches the kick from Brooks float down field, sheparding it over the sideline. Tigers rush to pack the scrum. They have one play.
40: Brooks finishes with the ball on his toe, looking for Richards but it just smashed dead by Hunt. HALFTIME.
40: Both teams are back on the field for the second half which hopefully will be to a higher standard than the first. Brisbane lead 6-nil but will want to stop the offloads from the home side. For the Tigers - it is simple, respect and hold onto the ball. KICK-OFF from Richards.
42: VIDEO REFEREE: Luke Brooks might have pulled off something spectacular. We're checking everything.
42: TRY WESTS TIGERS
Scored by Luke Brooks. Kick to come.
Luke Brooks started the movement kicking the last tackle punt into Ben Hunt, kicking ahead for himself before playing a 1-2 off Daniel Vidot before planting it down just inside the dead-ball line!
43: UNFORCED ERROR WESTS TIGERS
Sauaso Sue makes an unforced error.
That isn't what you want from the kick return. Sauaso Sue was steadying himself under the ball but drops it cold. Broncos scrum ten metres out.
44: PENALTY Broncos - Adam Blair was a long way off, like a positive poll performance for Tony Abbott. Hunt points straight to the sticks.
45: SUCCESSFUL PENALTY GOAL BRISBANE BRONCOS
Penalty goal attempt by Ben Hunt successful.
The halfback steps up to give the Broncos the lead again and does so with aplomb.
49: Bodene receiving attention gives the third officials a chance to review the footage. They find a shoulder charge from Lowrie who is duly punished.
51: PENALTY Tigers - Reed was laying in the ruck.
58: UNFORCED ERROR BRISBANE BRONCOS
Lachlan Maranta makes an unforced error.
He's done it again. Richards just blasted one right into Maranta's direction and the winger couldn't handle it.
59: TRY WESTS TIGERS
Scored by Bodene Thompson. Kick to come.
GREEN LIGHTS..TRY! Brooks deftly played it across for the onrushing Thompson who got it down despite Barba in attention.
60: SUCCESSFUL CONVERSION WESTS TIGERS
Conversion attempt by Pat Richards successful.
Pat Richards steps up to give the Tigers a four point lead. His dropkicks along with Brooks kicking has brought the Tigers right into this. He slams it through again.
62: Simple piggyback for the Broncos - Galloway stripping it loose.
64: TRY BRISBANE BRONCOS
Scored by Corey Oates. Kick to come.
The two halfbacks have been the architects tonight. Hunt dangled it up for Oates who took it in the contest, offloaded to Oates who slides in.
65: SUCCESSFUL CONVERSION BRISBANE BRONCOS
Conversion attempt by Ben Hunt successful.
Ben Hunt has the chance to give Brisbane the lead once again. He walks in from mid range and hooks it inside the posts.
66: PENALTY Tigers - will they let Richards take a gamble? They will! 42 metres out.
67: SUCCESSFUL PENALTY GOAL WESTS TIGERS
Penalty goal attempt by Pat Richards successful.
The winger has toyed with the Broncos fullbacks and wingers with his kicks tonight. Now he has a shot to put them level again - he strides in just off centre and puts it straight through the middle.
74: A head clash brought a heed to proceedings for a while. Brisbane were set up for the field goal but Hunt opts for the bomb that goes awry.
77: Ben Hunt slices through, he is slowing down looking for his support. He found Copley who is brought down, knocking it on. Brisbane get a reprieve though with Richards conceding a PENALTY for tackling Maranta without the ball.
77: SUCCESSFUL PENALTY GOAL BRISBANE BRONCOS
Penalty goal attempt by Ben Hunt successful.
The man of the hour Ben Hunt will step up once again, to put the Broncos ahead.. Here he goes.. taking time, walking in slowly. He strikes it wobbly but it goes through. All that matters.
77: Pat Richards take a bow.. he feigns to go long, opts for a short one and Tigers recover! Here they go..
79: UNFORCED ERROR WESTS TIGERS
Keith Lulia makes an unforced error.
Luke Brooks was standing at first receiver.. last tackle. He needs to produce something here, he goes the face ball to Lulia who can't haul it in. Broncos ball.
80: Hunt is the architect on last.. his kick finds Richards on the full. Last chance for the Tigers.
80: UNFORCED ERROR BRISBANE BRONCOS
Ben Barba makes an unforced error.
Last tackle.. Brooks puts it high into the melee of arms and legs, it finds it way out to Barba who tries to pick it up and run.. knocking on.
80: It comes down to Brooks again on the final play.. he tries to feed it inside but it found Jack Reed who closes out a low skill game which had an exciting final fifteen minutes. FULLTIME.