The Brisbane Broncos have toughed out a victory at Skilled Stadium in Robina tonight over the Gold Coast Titans.
The Titans looked to have the ascendancy throughout the first three quarters of the match but astounding goal line defense from the Brisbane side proved the be the difference in the end.
The Titans were the first on the scoreboard through Mat Rogers after a deft little kick by Nathan Friend caught Israel Folau off balance who remarkably was out-jumped by the Titans veteran. Rogers converted his try and the score was 6-0 after 10 minutes.
The Titans had all of the running over the next 15 minutes, going close on many occasions, due in no small part by woeful ball control from the Brisbane side. The Broncos defended staunchly until at the 25 minute mark Bodene Thompson wrong footed the Broncos markers from dummy half to dive over down the right hand blind side. The kick was waved away and things were looking ominous.
All the pressure the Titans had built up was washed away however after a kick was put out on the full by Scott Prince. After a dubious penalty to the Broncos took them to the other end of the field Matt Gillett showed good strength to shove his way over left of the sticks. Parker kicked the goal and the Broncos went into half time only 4 down when they should have been a lot more.
Despite this, immediately after half time, it was the Titans who looked the better side, first by taking Ben Te'o over the sideline off the kick off and then spending the next 10 minutes camped in the Broncos half only for it all to come to nothing, conceding a try and losing Mat Rogers to the sin bin in the space of the 54th minute.
Noted speedster Jharal Yow Yeh caught a wayward Greg Bird pass and set sail downfield with nobody in front of him. Titans flier Kevin Gordon reeled him just over the halfway line and when Mat Rogers completed the tackle, allegedly going on with it for too long, he was sin binned. The decision proved decisive as almost immediately the Broncos spread it to their left where Rogers would usually be defending, found an overlap and sent Antonio Winterstein over in the corner.
From there the Broncos took control of the game. Ben Te'o went close at around the 60th minute, making a great bust downfield with almost the whole Broncos backline with him in support and only Campbell to beat. The myriad of supporting players must have confused the big guy as he looked right, then left, then dummied right, got around Campbell, looked left, was reeled in by Campbell and threw a last ditch effort forward with the line about a metre away.
It didn't matter however as the Broncos went in twice more in the last 11 minutes, Winterstein bagging a double and Yow Yeh picking up a try in the last two minutes to wrap the game up.
The Titans will be sweating on the fitness of Greg Bird who went down in the 75th minute with what looked to be a hamstring injury while the Titans were deep on the attack looking to get back in it.
The Titans will find it hard to highlight where they lost the game. They had all the opportunities for the better part of 60 minutes but found it incredibly difficult to crack the Broncos stoic defense. Greg Bird was good for the Titans until he went down injured and Preston Campbell was his usual incredibly courageous self. Scott Prince came up with a few uncustomary errors kicking in general play and youngster Ryan James was impressive in his short stints, coming up with some big contact.
For the Broncos, LeagueUnlimited.com Player of the Match Josh Hoffman was dynamic in both attack and defense making several scything linebreaks and defusing almost every Titans attacking kick thrown his way. Evergreen lock forward Corey Parker was also his usual workmanlike self, getting through plenty in both attack and defense and also crucially landing 3 difficult sideline conversions.
Gold Coast Titans 10 were defeated by Brisbane Broncos 24
National Rugby League - NRL - Round 19 - Friday July 16, 2010 7:35pm
Venue: Skilled Park
Referee: Matt Cecchin and Jason Robinson
Video Referee: Steve Clark
Touch Judges: Steve Chiddy and Michael Wise
Halftime: Gold Coast Titans 10 Brisbane Broncos 6
LeagueUnlimited.com Live Commentary Pre Game: Both teams are 1-17 as named on Tuesday. Weather is fine. This game is shaping up to be a cracker.
Kick off almost spilled by Minichiello. Titans charging upfield now.
5 min: After the first four minutes of feeling out, Greg Bird asks a question with a huge midfield spiral bomb that is spilled by Winterstein. On the ensuing set Ashley Harrison spills it in the play the ball and the first attacking opportunity of the match is squandered.
8 min: McCullough spills it and the Titans get another shot. Bird forces a pass and the Broncos are let off again. You won't believe it, before I get the chance to finish the sentence, Thaiday spills it and the Titans get a scrum 20 out, on the attack, again.
10 min: TRY
Mat Rogers scores after Friend puts in a little cross field kick. Rogers out jumps Folau and grounds it.
12 min: Broncos drop it again but it's ruled a strip and the Broncos find touch 20 out from the Titans tryline. Brisbane with a chance to hit back. Thaiday is down now after Greg Bird's knee accidentally hits Thaiday in the thigh. Time back on, he'll try to run it out.
13 min: A Lockyer kick for Winterstein is spilled as the young winger is put under too much pressure by his opposite man. 20 metre restart.
16 min: Lockyer puts in a great clearing kick from inside his own half. Kevin Gordon is tackled 10 out.
17 min: Preston Campbell makes a huge break from a kick return. Beating 4 or 5 defenders before being pulled down 10 inside the Broncos half.
20 min: The Titans look very crisp tonight. Their attack is flowing nicely. If they can get their completions up a bit they could put on some points. A Prince kick forces Winterstein to make another error and the Titans will be on the attack 10 out.
21 min: Josh Hoffman does extremely well to make it back into the field of play off a grubber after the Broncos hold their nerve and keep the Titans out with some great defense.
23 min: Wallace and Hoffman get mixed up with Titans defenders, a gap opens up and Wallace makes a break but is called back for the obstruction. Titans on the attack 30 out.
24 min: Hoffman again defuses a Prince kick showing great reflexes. Line drop out now. Titans on the attack again.
25 min: Titans get a penalty in front 20 out and take a quick tap.
25 min: TRY
Campbell goes within inches of the tryline only for Bodene Thompson to throw a great dummy and go down the blind side to score. Titans look very good.
27 min: Kick is unsuccessful. Titans lead 10-0.
30 min: I highlight this one in particular because it was about the worst kick I've ever seen from Scott Prince. Out WELL on the full.
31 min: Campbell absolutely FLIES through the air to take a Lockyer kick. Wonderful stuff.
32 min: Broncos receive a strange penalty after a silly pass from Peter Wallace.
33 min: TRY
Matt Gillett shows great strength to power over against the run of play. Titans lead 10-6.
Gold Coast Titans 10-6
40 min: Had some technical issues earlier but I am back. Strange first half as the Titans looked about 3 tries better but go into the break only 4 points ahead. The Broncos will need to improve their handling drastically in the second half if they are to be any chance as I can't see them scoring many more against the run of play tries.
41 min: Ben Te'o is tackled over the sideline off the kick off. Titans on the attack 30 out.
45 min: Titans force a line drop out. Still on the attack. Picked up from where they left off.
46 min: Brisbane defending very well tonight. Greg Bird puts too much weight on the grubber and the Broncos get it back from the 20 metre line. Now they get a penalty for a strip.
49 min: Titan force another line drop out.
50 min: Brisbane are defending amazingly well. It's a pity their handling has forced them to have to defend this way.
55 min: TRY
Broncos defending amazingly. This game has just taken a huge turn. Yow Yeh, a noted speedster, gets clear space ahead of him and is run down after 50 metres by Kevin Gordon, best race this year probably. Mat Rogers is then sin binned for holding down when it was clear that Yow Yeh was hurt and was staying down. Terrible call. Almost immediately the Broncos spread it to the left and Winterstein scores in the corner.
56 min: Broncos now in front and they really shouldn't be. The Titans losing Mat Rogers is a terrible game changing decision.
61 min: Ben Te'o just made a great break and had four men backing up unmarked and didn't know who to pass to, it was really a great break too. He was somehow rounded up by Campbell, enough to force Te'o to throw an offload that goes forward. That rivals Daine Laurie's effort last year as the number one bombed try of all time.
63 min: Campbell had a chance their running into an open gap off a loose ball but put it down. Broncos still leading here.
67 min: Rogers is back out there.
67 min: Hoffman makes a line break off the kick return and is taken down around the legs by Preston Campbell. Campbell having a huge match.
69 min: TRY
Winterstein scores in the corner off a grubber from Josh Hoffman. Great work. Video ref to decide and awards the try. Parker with the important sideline conversion is successful and somehow Brisbane are more than a converted try ahead.
73 min: Campbell with another good kick return. Minichiello on the next tackle wrestles defenders free spilling the ball in the process. Broncos with the ball 30 out. A chance to ice the game now.
74 min: Campbell spills an attacking kick but Winterstein is ruled to have tackled him mid air. Titans run it out from their end.
75 min: Titans get another penalty and are deep on the attack now.
76 min: Bird is taken off with a leg injury. Suspected hamstring. Titans lose the ball and pressure is off.
77 min: Titans receive a penalty in their own half but fail to find touch. Two shockers from Prince tonight.
80 min: TRY
Game is over. A Wallace kick takes a deflection straight back into his own hands. He draws Campbell and Gordon and puts Yow Yeh in the corner. Broncos win here. Built on defense but in the end they did take the ascendancy. One must wonder what would have happened if Rogers hadn't spent 10 in the bin. Parker has only kicked from the sideline tonight and has kicked them all.
Brisbane Broncos 24-10
80 min: Ryan James absolutely drills Nick Kenny on the last hit up of the game but it is over now. The Titans had all the running for the first 50 or 60 minutes but the Broncos defense was astounding. Eventually it just appeared as though the Titans gave up and the Broncos ran away with it in the end. Good win for the Broncos, a game they could have lost but refused to.