Jeff Dickinson-Fox reviews the campaign which saw Melbourne Storm crowned premiers in 2017.
3 days ago
The Brisbane Broncos have ensured their survival for at least another week after denying a second half comeback and emerging with a 40-32 win over the Gold Coast Titans in front of a sell-out crowd at Skilled Park.
Despite an early try to the Titans through Preston Campbell, the first half was a footballing lesson for the greenhorn Titans as the Broncos showed them what semi-finals were all about. Their stars came to the fore as Justin Hodges, Peter Wallace, Darren Lockyer, Karmichael Hunt and Israel Folau all combined to put four tries on the scoreboard before a late effort set up by giant Dave Taylor left an imposing halftime scoreline of 28-10 in favour of the visiting team.
It was going to take something special from the Titans to stay in the contest - and something special it sure was. Three quick tries, including two special efforts from winger Kevin Gordon, brought the score right back to 30-26 before Israel Folau stemmed the flow by claiming his hat-trick from a Titans error. A further try to David Mead brought the score back to a two-point margin as fulltime approached but Dave Taylor ensured his Broncos would have the final say with a late intercept try putting the result beyond doubt.
The Titans may have suffered a bit of stage fright in their first taste of semi final football although they did manage to highlight some defensive deficiencies in the Broncos during their second half performance. Brad Meyers, Preston Campbell and Nathan Friend were their stand-out performers, while Mat Rogers suffered an injury late in the match and could be in doubt for their next match.
The Broncos showed their class tonight but conceding 32 points shows they have plenty of work to do before they can be considered a genuine threat for the 2009 title. Peter Wallace was placed on report early on but shouldn