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Finals 2006 Week 3
Canterbury Bulldogs 20 v Brisbane Broncos 37
at Aussie Stadium
Referee: Paul Simpkins
The Brisbane Broncos have become the first team to qualify for the 2006 Grand Final after staging a remarkable second-half comeback to defeat Canterbury Bulldogs by 37-20.
They now face the winner of Melbourne and St George-Illawarra after piling on six tries in the second half to bash the usually dominant Bulldogs forward pack and complete a trifecta of victories over the Belmore club this season.
Opening the scoring in the ninth minute, Brisbane survived an obstruction challenge by the video referee to plant the ball next to the posts. This only seemed to incite the Bulldogs, who went on a 20-point rampage to assert their dominance over the game.
Asotasi opened up the Broncos defence in the 12th minute hitting a gap and offering the ball to Holdsworth who was swamped by Broncos defenders but still managed to ground the ball over the line.
Not long after, Holdsworth left the field with an injured ankle and didn?t return with initial reports suggesting he?d injured his ligaments. It had no affect on them as Maitua entered the fray in the centres and Roberts went to five-eighth, providing instant results with Sherwin scoring under the posts following a brilliant off-load from Mason close to the line.
El Masri knocked over a penalty goal in the 26th minute before Utai barged his way over the top of Boyd two minutes later to open up a 14-point lead. In a great open move the Bulldogs pushed the ball wide and the nuggetty Kiwi winger hit Boyd one-on-one to score - a scenario most wingers would fail to contain and as it was the Brisbane flanker did a reasonable job trying to defend his line.
The scores remained at 20-6 into the break with the Broncos looking out on their feet and Canterbury cruising towards victory.
But unbeknown to the Doggies, they wouldn?t score another point as whatever Wayne Bennett said at halftime had a profound effect on the Broncos.
Firstly, Hodges replaced Hunt at fullback in what proved to be a masterstroke. Five minutes into the second half Hodges fielded a kick in his own in-goal area and took off, beating 3 Canterbury defenders and found Berrigan on his outside screaming down the western wing. Hodges gave the ball to Berrigan who tore off downfield, staving off two attempted tackles before scoring in the corner whilst being harassed by Mason towards the sideline. It was an astounding try and one of the most memorable in recent finals games, bringing the crowd of almost 30,000 to their feet.
Whilst still trailing by 20-12, this try was clearly the turning point of the match as Brisbane began to mount an unanswered 31-point second half haul that embarrassed the Bulldogs in the final
Further tries to Carlaw (49th minute), Boyd (60th minute) and Lockyer (67h minute) took the game away from Canterbury as they struggled to find options late in the tackle count and began to play one-out footy.
A rugged effort by Brent Tate from close range put the game in Brisbane?s keeping as they lead 32-20 with just under 10 minutes to play. Lockyer snapped a field goal in the 78th minute while Parker rubbed salt into the wounds with a late try to wrap-up the game by 37-20.
Some concern will go through the Broncos camp after Petero Civoniceva was placed on report by the referee for a high shot on Sonny Bill Williams. But it emerged that he would survive a Grade 2 careless high tackle with an early guilty plea.
Other than that, Lockyer was brilliant as was Hodges and the Broncos march on towards their sixth Grand Final in their 19th season since entering the NSWRL.
Canterbury will be left disappointed after failing to qualify for their second Grand Final in 3 years during an otherwise successful year.
Canterbury Bulldogs: 20
Tries: Brent Sherwin, Matthew Utai, Daniel Holdsworth
Goals: Hazem El Masri 4/4
Brisbane Broncos: 37
Tries: Shaun Berrigan(2), Dane Carlaw, Darren Lockyer, Corey Parker, Brent Tate, Darius Boyd
Goals: Darren Lockyer 1/1, Corey Parker 3/6
Field Goals: Darren Lockyer
By the Clock:
Welcome to the first Qualifying Final of 2006 where the winner of tonight's game between Canterbury and Brisbane will advance to this year's Grand Final.
We've had an absolutely cracking day in Sydney. It's a bit hot, a bit humid and you can smell the sweet September air.
The ground is filling up nicely and this was the stage of the 1998 Grand Final, the last one played at the SFS, and these two teams took the field.
Asotasi is into the starting side, so is Roberts who comes into the centres. Maitua back to the bench with Myles as well. Perry and Armit make up the rest of the bench. Some big changes in there. Brisbane are sure to test Roberts but the bench no longer carries as much impact with SBW and big Roy starting.
For the Broncos, Hunt goes to fullback as he suggested with Hodges into the centres. Tate moves to the wing and the rest of the team is unchanged.
This is going to be an absolute bell-ringer.
Canterbury kick-off and we're underway here at the Footy Stadium!
2 min: NEWS Both teams shaping up right now. No mistakes as they've both come to play.
5 min: NEWS There's been some ridiculous off-loads. Civoniceva, Thaiday, SBW and Mason all in on the act.
6 min: NEWS Hughes knocks-on in his own territory and the Broncos have a good opportunity here 40m out.
8 min: NEWS Bulldogs muscling up here. Very strong defence.
9 min: TRY Brisbane Broncos
First try of the night goes to Shaun Berrigan who scored from a bit of broken play close to the Bulldogs line. Thorn for Brisbane was examined by the video ref for an obstruction but the try was awarded. Lockyer converts and the Broncos take an early lead.
12 min: NEWS Bulldogs responding here with some strong runs, good metres being made.
12 min: TRY Canterbury Bulldogs
Huge try here as Asotasi makes a break about 30m out, pumps downfield, Holdsworth in support scores after being tackled a few metres out and being carried over the line. El Masri converts and we're back on an even kiel.
14 min: NEWS Sherwin kicks out on the full in an apparent 40-20 attempt.
16 min: NEWS Broncos on the charge here.
16 min: NEWS Tate denied a try as a textbook shephard from Lockyer gets pulled up.
17 min: NEWS Holdsworth just limped off. Maitua has come on into the centres with Roberts moving to 5/8. Left ankle injury from the collision with Carroll in the aforementioned obstruction.
19 min: NEWS An attacking raid by the Bulldogs is shut down, goal line drop-out by Brisbane goes 60m.
21 min: TRY Canterbury Bulldogs
Sherwin in under the sticks after Mason off-loads under intense traffic. Try awarded by the video ref after Simpkins wanted to check for a knock-on. El Masri converts and the Bulldogs have hit the lead for the first time tonight.
23 min: NEWS Looks like Holdsworth might be out for the rest of the game with this ankle injury.
26 min: PENALTY GOAL Canterbury Bulldogs
El Masri knocks over a penalty goal as Berrigan gets warned for holding down Emelio. Handy 8-point lead.
27 min: NEWS Penalties starting to flow for Canterbuy.
28 min: TRY Canterbury Bulldogs
Utai scores out wide after receiving a great cut-out pass from Sherwin. The nuggetty winger runs over Boyd, but it was almost impossible to stop. El Masri knocks over the conversion from the sideline and the Bulldogs are looking good.
31 min: NEWS Roberts hits a 40-20 and the Bulldogs are on the attack again.
33 min: NEWS Consecutive penalties to Brisbane gives them a god attacking opportunity.
34 min: NEWS Tate muffs a good chance and Canterbury have the ball again.
35 min: NEWS The Bulldogs have all the momentum right now.
39 min: NEWS Brisbane just hanging on here, looking forward to halftime.
40 min: NEWS Halftime here at the SFS where the Bulldogs are looking very good. They are in control of the contest and are displaying all the signs of a Grand Final side.
Brisbane dropped their bundle late in the second half and Utai's try really hurt them. They can come back but need to start playing more enthusiastically and perhaps try something different. Hodges to fullback?
The second half presents an intriguing contest as the Broncos fight to continue their season against a dominant Canterbury team.
Brisbane have made 62 more tackles and are in desperate need of possession. If it evens out, they could come home.
41 min: NEWS Brisbane restart proceedings...
42 min: NEWS Hodges back to fullback, Hunt to the wing.
43 min: NEWS Some bruising play here with the Broncos hurting Canterbury.
45 min: TRY Brisbane Broncos
A 100 metre try from the Broncos! Hodges fields the ball in his own in-goal and runs about 40m breaking 3 tackles before giving a ball to Berrigan who goes the rest of the length, fending off challenges from two players before carrying Mason over the line almost upside down. What an beauty! Parker boots it from the sideline and it's game on.
48 min: NEWS Hodges has spiders on him at the moment...
49 min: TRY Brisbane Broncos
After a turnover from the Bulldogs, Brisbane pressure the line and Dane Carlaw powers over out wide to score with several defenders hanging off him. The Broncos aren't going to die wondering tonight. Canterbury have fallen asleep. Parker converts from almost the exact same spot and we have a ball-tearer here at the SFS.
54 min: NEWS Rubbish option from Lockyer who lets the Dogs off the hook with a poorly directed bomb.
57 min: NEWS SBW a little ginger after being monstered by Civoniceva. The Brisbane prop is on report and it doesn't look real good. Swinging arm to the head of SBW.
58 min: NEWS Tate knocks-on. He is having an absolute shocker, the guy can't hold the ball at all.
60 min: TRY Brisbane Broncos
The Broncos are in again after spinning it wide on the eastern flank. Lockyer gives it to Tate who runs about 30m before offloading to Boyd who beats Patten and brings it around under the sticks. Tate redeems himself well after a string of mistakes. But Parker misses his easiest attempt of the night.
67 min: TRY Brisbane Broncos
The Broncos are in again and I think they've got this one. Lockyer steps through in the middle of the park before giving it to Carroll. He runs 20m, beating Utai before holding off Patten and giving it back to Lockyer to score next to the posts. The Broncos are on fire! Amazingly Parker misses again from an easy position.
69 min: NEWS Canterbury take a short kick and Sherwin recovers.
70 min: NEWS Terrible call by the ref there after McGuire charges down a kick and the Bulldogs are refused an extra set of six.
71 min: TRY Brisbane Broncos
The Broncos are in again this time through Tate. Lockyer junks and weaves before finding Tate who beats Maitua and Patten to the line. The video ref checks for a double movement and awards the try. Parker kicks it this time and Brisbane open up a 12-point lead.
76 min: NEWS Crowd: 29,511
78 min: FIELD GOAL Brisbane Broncos
Lockyer puts the icing on the cake with a nifty field goal to wrap things up with 2 1/2 minutes left.
79 min: TRY Brisbane Broncos
Brisbane are just destroying them now with Parker crossing out wide to make the score embarrassing. Parker misses from the sideline and the Broncos run out very handsome winners.
80 min: NEWS All over here at the SFS. An amazing comeback from Brisbane and they qualify for their sixth Grand Final.
Leagueunlimited.com players of the match:
3 - Darren Lockyer
2 - Justin Hodges
1 - Tonie Carroll