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A 48,474 strong Suncorp Stadium crowd were treated to a superb game of Rugby League in the semi final between the Brisbane Broncos and the Saint George Illawarra Dragons which saw the home side get up a Lockyer field goal in the second minute of extra time.
The first half was well contested between both sides with both the Broncos and Dragons having periods of dominance. However, strong defence and untimely errors each way only allowed one try in the first 40.
Dragons had all the field position early, but strong defence kept them well out. Brisbane received the first penalty of the night and capitalised on the opportunity being offered earning repeat sets before collecting the only points of the half courtesy of a short ball from Lockyer putting Te'o in to score and Parker adding an extra 2 points.
Brisbane dominated all facets of play following the try but stifled their own opportunities with several errors inside the Dragons' 20. Dragons took advantage of the mistakes playing their way back into the game to create a wonderful contest between top sides.
A penalty right in front offered Brisbane an opportunity to extend the lead a minute before the interval, but Parker's boot skewed it to set up for a superb second 40 taking Brisbane into the interval ahead 6 points to none.
The second half saw a similar contest on offer to the first, with goal kicking the real difference and the factor that helped take the game to a golden golden point victory which was finished off by Brisbane golden child Darren Lockyer. Lockyer achieved the feat despite playing with injured face having copped a friendly knee to his jaw from his fullback Beale in the 70th.
Brisbane extended their lead early in the second 40 when Parker landed a penalty goal in the 48th minute to extend the lead beyond a converted try. Dragons took some time to face up to the deficit, but when a 52nd minute penalty put them in scoring range Dragons played themselves right back into the contest.
It did not take long for the visitors to capitalise crossing for their first try of the night in the 55th minute. A superb offload from Weyman helped Cuthbertson over the whitewash before the boot of Soward reduced the deficit to 2. Good possession and field position followed for the Dragons before a penalty to the Broncos turned things right around and returned a great contest.
Next points went to the Brisbane Broncos off a superb play from 40 out drawing defenders and putting the ball through hands to give Copley a clear run down the left flank to score. A difficult conversion offered Brisbane a great opportunity to keep the game beyond a converted try and in difficult reach, but Parker could not get the ball between the posts and instead Dragons were offered sights of a strong finish.
2 minutes later there was fears of Lockyer who was seen on the clutching his jaw after copping a leaping Beale knee to the jaw. Lockyer played through the pain and disfiguration and attempted his first field goal in the 76th minute. Dragons however would not go down without a fight and in their next set of six gave video referees Russell Smith and Steve Clark their first work of the night which saw them deny the try due to a knock on.
Dragons fought on and scored a legitimate try in the 78th minute with a superb effort from Boyd to keep Dragons in the game in the shadows of full time. The pressure was on Soward with the boot but he stood up to it and helped take the match into extra time with teams on even keel, 2 tries a piece and a 12 all score line.
Brisbane kicked off extra time and the Dragons offered the home side an opportunity to claim with their first touch offering the Broncos good field position with a weak set and ordinary kick. Brisbane saw the opportunity and set up to find Lockyer to take his second field goal attempt of the night. This attempt was low and pin point accurate sailing between the sticks to see Brisbane live on in the finals and and Darren Lockyer's NRL career continue for a week.
Brisbane took the match with a 13-12 victory as the Dragons waved goodbye to coach Wayne Bennett and his prodigy Darius Boyd. St. George Illawarra also saw off Mark Gasnier for the second time with their season drawing to a close. Brisbane's season continues next Friday when they will take on the Manly Warringah Sea Eagles in Sydney.
Brisbane Broncos 13 defeated St George Illawarra Dragons 12
National Rugby League - Finals Week 2 - Saturday September 17, 2011 6:45pm
Venue: Suncorp Stadium
Referee: Matt Cecchin and Tony Archer
Video Referee: Russell Smith and Steve Clark
Touch Judges: Paul Holland and Dan Eastwood
Halftime: Brisbane Broncos St George Illawarra Dragons
Leagueunlimited.com players of the match:
3 Points - Gerard Beale
2 Points - Darren Lockyer (1 Field Goal)
1 Point - Josh McGuire
BRISBANE BRONCOS (13)
Tries: Ben Te'o, Dale Copley
Field Goals: Darren Lockyer (1/2)
Conversions: Corey Parker (1/2)
Penalty Goals: Corey Parker (1/2)
ST GEORGE ILLAWARRA DRAGONS (12)
Tries: Darius Boyd, Adam Cuthbertson
Conversions: Jamie Soward (2/2)
LeagueUnlimited.com Live Commentary Good Evening and welcome to Suncorp Stadium for League Unlimited's coverage of the second semi final where the Brisbane Broncos will take on the Saint George Illawarra Dragons to decide who will take on the Manly Warringah Sea Eagles in the preliminary final next weekend.
TEAM NEWS: The Broncos will take the field as per program. The Dragons have a few changes with Mitch Rein in jumper 18 replacing Fein at hooker, whilst Dean Young will start from the bench and Trent Merrin will start at Lock.
1 min: Hornby kicks off to give Brisbane first use of the football.
1 min: Brisbane kick early in the count and McCullough's boot helps St George start their first set from the 30.
2 min: Solid opening set from the red and whites as they see some of the Brisbane half and force Brisbane to play it out from their line.
5 min: Defence from both sides strong in these early stages but the Dragons are seeing the better field position.
7 min: Good attacking set from the Dragons but a boot just rolls out the dead ball line and Brisbane have a tap 20.
8 min: The first PENALTY of the night has just been awarded to the Broncos against Beau Scott holding down in the play the ball.
8 min: Back to back PENALTIES to the Broncos, again against Scott, this for a steal 20 out, to create a great opportunity for the home side.
9 min: A short kick from McCullough puts an end to the set and an end to the Brisbane goal line pressure.
10 min: Both sides are attacking now as the first points of the match appear to be looming.
11 min: Boyd has gone straight down and appears to be in some trouble. Dragons are awarded a PENALTY and Wallace is put on report for a high tackle.
12 min: Gasnier threatens the line and gets it onto Soward bu the number 6 cannot hold onto it and Beale claims the ball.
13 min: Brisbane earn a repeat set when Reed forces a line drop out with a short kick.
15 min: Six again for Brisbane as Hornby gets a touch on the ball 5 out from his won line.
17 min: TRY
TRY ro the Broncos!
Lockyer gets a short pass on to Te'o to put him through to score. Parker converts.
Brisbane Broncos 6-0
19 min: Brisbane have kicked it up a gear and are taking control over the game as they start to get the better of the field position.
20 min: Brisbane halt their own progress with an error in the St George Illawarra 20.
21 min: Dragons are now struggling to get out of their own half as Brisbane are dominating in both attack and defence.
22 min: Brisbane again stifle their own progress with an error inside the Dragons' 20.
24 min: Complete sets each way and Brisbane continue to look well on top.
24 min: Gasnier succumbs to defensive pressure knocking on a simple catch inside his own 20.
26 min: Again Brisbane deny themselves with an error close to the line.
27 min: Dragons put in a great set and find good metres to try to fight their way back in.
29 min: Complete sets both ways and both sides appear to be on even keel now.
29 min: Sharp line break from Copley helps Brisbane toward halfway on the first.
30 min: And Hodges loses it inside the 10 on the last.
34 min: The game has become very well contested over the last 5 minutes and the visitors are creating some great opportunities to get themselves on the scoreboard.
37 min: Great defence from both sides as each continues to fight.
38 min: PENALTY to the Broncos against the Dragons' captain 5 out from his own line.
38 min: Six again for the Broncos right in front as Beau Scott gets a hand on the ball.
39 min: PENALTY to the Broncos a few metres out against Soward for hands in the play the ball 3 metres out and Brisbane will take the two.
40 min: PENALTY GOAL ATTEMPT
Parker misses a relatively easy shot at goal.
Brisbane Broncos 6-0
40 min: Dragons take too long to get to the kick off and that will be the half with Brisbane leading 6 nil.
41 min: Second half under way.
42 min: Solid start to the half from both sides as this game is still very much up for grabs.
43 min: Creagh turns the ball over just short of half way to offer Brisbane a good opportunity.
44 min: A superb little stab kick from Lockyer earns a repeat set helping the Brisbane defence trap Morris in goal for a line drop out.
45 min: Ben Hunt puts in a short kick and Dragons collect possession.
47 min: PENALTY to the Broncos against Cuthbertson for holding down in the play the ball 40 out.
48 min: PENALTY GOAL
Parker squeezes the ball inside the posts and Brisbane have an 8 point lead.
Brisbane Broncos 8-0
49 min: Brisbane forwards carting the ball up strongly for good gains.
51 min: Facing a deficit of more than a converted try, the Dragons are not offering much in attack now.
51 min: The Brisbane forwards asserting real authority on this game now.
52 min: PENALTY to the Dragons against Gillett for being inside the ten.
54 min: A Hornby shrt kick earns the Dragons a repeat set forcing Yow Yeh to play it dead. Morris has picked up a knee injury. 56 min: TRY
TRY to the Dragons!
Weyman stands and offloads to Cuthbertson who falls over the line to score. Conversion attempt from Soward successful.
Brisbane Broncos 8-6
58 min: Dragons apply enormous pressure with a strong set and a bomb which Beale flies to collect but cannot get a clean grip on and knocks on for a Dragons' scrum 20 out.
59 min: Six gain for the Dragons right in front when Reed failed to clean up a short kick.
60 min: Boyd tries to put Gasnier into a hole but Gaz goes without it and the ball sails over the sideline.
62 min: PENALTY to Brisbane against Hornby on the last tackle.
63 min: Brisbane again concede an error in side the Dragons' 20.
66 min: Both sides completing their sets and we are again seeing a great contest.
68 min: TRY
TRY to the Broncos!
Brisbane put the ball theough hands, drawing and passing from 40 out to get it on to Copley on the left flank to run in and score. Parker just skews it to the left.
Brisbane Broncos 12-6
70 min: Lockyer is on the ground clutching at his jaw after copping a Beale knee to the face.
73 min: Both sides desperate to put this game away
74 min: Dragons make an error near halfway to hand Brisbane an opportunity to tput the game away.
76 min: FIELD GOAL ATTEMPT
Drop goal attempt from Lockyer is fended off by Dragon bodies.
Brisbane Broncos 12-6
77 min: VIDEO REFEREE for a possible St. George Illawarra TRY.
77 min: NO TRY! The ball has been knocked on into a Brisbane player.
77 min: A Brisbane error keeps the Dragons in the game offering them an opportunity to take this game into extra time.
79 min: TRY
TRY to the Dragons!
Hornby finds Boyd how outsmarts the defence as Cuthbertson runs a decoy and Boyd collects a try. Soward converts to level the scores.
80 min: The hooter has blown and scores remain level so we will have extra time. News on Morris is that he has a broken Fibula. News on Lockyer is that no one could pry him off the field.
81 min: Brisbane kick off extra time.
81 min: Weak opening set from the Dragons as Beale fields a kick 30 out from his line.
82 min: FIELD GOAL
Brisbane find the field position to find Lockyer with in in range who puts in a perfect low and accurate kick to sail between the posts for a Brisbane victory.
Brisbane Broncos 13-12
82 min: Brisbane live on and the Lockyer fairy tale continues for another week with a 13-12 victory which will send them down to Sydney to take on Manly in a preliminary final.