The South Sydney Rabbitohs sent their fans crazy by fighting out a 34-all draw against the third-placed Broncos at Aussie Stadium this evening.
On a balmy August evening in Sydney, not even the most one-eyed Rabbitohs' supporter would have expected their side to go close to the Broncos; and with the Brisbane side leading 18-8 at halftime, most Rabbitohs fans were expecting a hiding.
But in the second half, Ashley Harrison put in a man-of-the-match performance while being assisted by the likes of Shane Walker, Joe Williams and Roy Bell.
The Rabbitohs dominated a high scoring second half with centre Lee Hookey scoring a try in the 68th minute, putting the Rabbitohs in front 34-28, and were looking by far the better side. But the Broncos levelled the scores when Neville Costigan pounced on a mistake made by Roy Bell to score. A field goal shootout ensued with both sides having numerous shots, but by the end of golden point extra time both sides had to settle with a draw.
For the Rabbitohs tonight's performance, especially those by the less experienced players, will give them and their fans plenty of hope for next season.
For the Broncos, tonight was a very worrying sign just two weeks out from the finals. If they are going to be any chance of winning the premiership this year, they will have to greatly improve.
Aussie Stadium Referee: Jason Robinson
RABBITOHS 34 Tries: Bell 2, Tillott, Fletcher, Harrison, Wood, Hookey Goals: Williams 3/7 drew with BRONCOS 34 Tries: Ikin 2, Carlaw 2, Webb, Costigan Goals: Parker 5/6
By the clock: A couple of late changes for the Broncos with centre Shaun Berrigan a late withdrawal, Neville Costigan going into the centres and Paul Green and Steve Irwin being late additions to the starting line up.
0 min: Kick Off
7 min: Try-Rabbitohs: Winger Wes Tillott scores in the corner after a great cut out pass from hooker Shane Walker. Halfback Joe Williams hits the posts with the conversion. Rabbitohs 4-0.
10 min: Try-Broncos: 5/8th Ben Ikin takes advantage of some hesitant Rabbitohs defence to run through a hole in the defence to score from close out. Corey Parker is successful with the conversion. Broncos 6-4.
21 min: News: After a promising start the Rabbitohs have only completed 2 out of their last 5 sets of 6 tackles.
23 min: Try-Rabbitohs: Lightweight Roy Bell sprints 40 metres to score and the Rabbitohs fans are on their feet. Joe Williams is unsuccessful with the conversion. Broncos 12-8.
30 min: Try-Broncos: Prop Carl Webb steamrolls through some wafer thin Rabbitohs defence to score his 4th try of the year. Corey Parker is successful with the conversion. Broncos 18-8.
39 min: News: The Broncos bomb what appears to be a certain try when Stuart Kelly throws the ball into touch with 2 players unmarked on his outside.
40 min: News: Rabbitohs hooker Shane Walker is penalised and cautioned for using inappropriate language aimed at the referee.
Halftime Report: In an up and down first half the Broncos have been the better side but the Rabbitohs have been good in patches. If the Rabbitohs are to have any chance of winning tonight they will have to improve their defence.
41 min: Try-Rabbitohs: The lightest player in the NRL in Roy Bell scores in the corner after some great lead up work from Ashley Harrison. Joe Williams has a shocker with the conversion. Broncos 18-12.
45 min: Try-Rabbitohs: Captain Bryan Fletcher scores close to the posts after a great offload from lock Ashley Harrison. Joe Williams is successful with the conversion. Can you believe it is 18 all.
48 min: News: Bad news for Broncos fans as star centre Brent Tate is down with an injury to his left ankle.
49 min: Try-Broncos: Interchange player Dane Carlaw chases down a grubber kick put into the in goal by Ben Ikin to score. Corey Parker is unsuccessful with the conversion. Broncos 22-18.
53 min: News: John Sutton bombs what would have been a certain try after keeping a Joe Williams grubber kick on the toe he drops the ball when he trys to pick it up just short of the Broncos line.
55 min: Try-Broncos: Interchange player Dane Carlaw who is playing in the unfamiliar position of left centre scores his second try in the corner off the back of a grubber kick put in by rookie sensation Karmichael Hunt. Corey Parker nails the conversion. Broncos 28-18.
57 min: News: Rabbitohs prop Scott Geddes is placed on report for a high tackle on Dane Carlaw.
58 min: News: Broncos centre Brent Tate struggling with an ankle injury is penalised for throwing the ball away.
61 min: Try-Rabbitohs: Ashley Harrison takes advantage of some disorganised Broncos defence to score next to the posts. Joe Williams is successful with the conversion. Broncos 28--24.
63 min: Try-Rabbitohs: Garth Wood scores in the corner after Shane Walker notices the Broncos are short on the right hand side and Lee Hookey draws in Stuart Kelly. Joe Williams is unsuccessful with the conversion. 28 all.
68 min: Try-Rabbitohs: Lee Hookey scores in the corner after Ashley Harrison makes a bust and then puts in a grubber kick which sat up perfectly for Hookey. Joe Williams is successful with the conversion. The Rabbitohs are leading 34-28 and their fans are going delirious.
73 min: News: Joe Williams hits the posts with a field goal attempt that would have wrapped up the game for the Rabbitohs.
78 min: News: Rabbitohs halfback Joe Williams is unsuccessful with an attempt at field goal.
79 min: News: Rabbitohs winger Wes Tillott drops a Ben Ikin bomb just 15 metres out from his own line.
80 min: News: Karmichael Hunt is denied a try as the referee rules that the last pass went forward with just 15 seconds left in regulation time.
82 min: News: A pass from Karmichael Hunt to Stuart Kelly is ruled forward with nothing but daylight between Kelly and the tryline.
84 min: News: Broncos halfback Casey McGuire is unsuccessful with a field goal attempt.
85 min: News: Rabbitohs fullback Roy Bell is unsuccessful with a field goal attempt.
Fulltime Report: Despite 10 minutes of golden point extra time and numerous field goal attempts by both sides nothing has split these two sides today. ----------------------------------------- Leagueunlimited.com players of the match: 3 - A Harrison (Rabbitohs) 2 - R Bell (Rabbitohs) 1 - C Webb (Broncos) -----------------------------------------Like