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Fulltime score: Round 25 Brisbane Broncos 10 v Sydney Roosters 17
Match summary: The Sydney Roosters have kept their faint Top 8 hopes alive tonight with a 17-10 victory over the Brisbane Broncos at Suncorp Stadium.
There were plenty of missed scoring opportunities in the first half, with unfamiliar halves combinations affecting the direction of both teams. Karmichael Hunt opened the scoring for the night with a great individual effort in the 5th minute, before Amos Roberts evened the scores in the 23rd to leave the scores locked at 4-all after 40 minutes.
An early Anthony Minichiello try started the second half well for the Roosters, and they followed it up with a penalty goal and a second Minichiello try to open up a handy lead. 'The Count' was heavily involved throughout the match, and his second try was a great length-of-the-field effort from a Broncos kickoff and an Anthony Tupou line break.
Stand-in Broncos captain Petero Civoniceva scored in the 66th minute to keep the Broncos in the match, but they were once again badly affected by injuries and couldn't claw back the defecit any further. Brett Finch completed the scoring for the night with a 73rd minute field goal to seal the match for the Roosters.
Anthony Minichiello was a deserved man-of-the-match, and received strong back-up from Craig Wing, Amos Roberts and Iosia Soliola. And while they're still in with an unlikely finals chance, there's undoubtedly plenty of work to do to recapture their form from previous seasons.
For the Broncos, it was a brave effort ultimately undone through a combination of fatigue and further injuries to Corey Parker, Berrick Barnes and David Stagg. Karmichael Hunt put in an outstanding performance, but without the return of some key personnel it's feasible that they could drop out in Week 1 of the finals.
Broncos v Roosters match photos: Click here to see the photo gallery for this game
Scorers: BRISBANE BRONCOS 10 Tries: Hunt, Civoniceva Goals: Barnes 0/2, Parker 1/1 SYDNEY ROOSTERS 17 Tries: Minichiello 2, Roberts Goals: Fitzgibbon 2/4 Field Goals: Finch 1/1
Venue: Suncorp Stadium Referee: Tony Archer Half time: Broncos 4 Roosters 4
Live commentary: Welcome to Suncorp Stadium for our opening Round 25 clash between the Brisbane Broncos and the Sydney Roosters!
Both teams have been struggling for form in recent weeks, but there's still plenty to play for here - the Broncos will be keen to stay in the Minor Premiership race while the Roosters still have the faintest of Top 8 hopes to keep them going.
For the Roosters, Craig Wing will start at halfback and Brett Finch will come from the bench.
0 min: KICKOFF!
3 min: Solid start by both sides tonight with plenty of strong defence.
5 min: VIDEO REF - checking a possible Broncos try ...
5 min: TRY - Broncos Karmichael Hunt breaks through attempted tackles from Crocker & Flannery, then reaches out for a try despite the defensive effort of Anthony Minichiello. Berrick Barnes misses the conversion. Broncos 4 Roosters 0
9 min: The Roosters force a line drop-out from the Broncos as they look to hit straight back.
10 min: VIDEO REF - checking a possible Roosters try ...
10 min: NO TRY - Roosters Craig Wing sets the Roosters back-line in motion and Joel Monaghan tries to squeeze through in the corner, but Scott Minto is on hand to force him into touch as he tries to ground the ball.
16 min: Brett Finch has entered the fray for the Roosters.
19 min: PENALTY GOAL ATTEMPT - Broncos The Roosters are penalised for an accidental offside infringement after a Karmichael Hunt bomb is fumbled. Berrick Barnes hits the post with his attempt, but the Broncos get the ball back from a Roosters knock-on.
20 min: The Broncos lose the ball pretty much straight away, letting the Roosters off the hook. Still 4-0 to the Broncos.
23 min: TRY - Roosters A great cut-out pass from Anthony Minichiello sees Amos Roberts dart through a skinny gap and around the Broncos defence out wide to score. Craig Fitzgibbon hits the posts with his conversion attempt. Broncos 4 Roosters 4
27 min: Some Keystone Cops stuff from the Roosters. Brett Finch is caught on the last tackle and the ball ends up with Michael Crocker, who puts in an awful sideways kick that is collected by Amos Roberts - but he's offside.
28 min: VIDEO REF - checking a possible Broncos try ...
28 min: NO TRY - Broncos Some swift back-line passes give Scott Minto a great chance to score, but he is tackled as he tries to cross the line and can't force the ball.
32 min: VIDEO REF (again!) - checking a possible Roosters try ...
32 min: NO TRY - Roosters Brett Finch makes a great clean break up the middle and flicks an inside ball to Anthony Minichiello, but he loses control of the ball as he bounces over the line.
35 min: A great 70-metre run from Anthony Minichiello sets up another good chance for the Roosters, but Craig Fitzgibbon loses the ball in a Berrick Barnes tackle.
37 min: Karmichael Hunt makes a break but the play is called back for a forward pass. INJURY NEWS - Corey Parker has a fractured finger and won't be back tonight.
HALFTIME: Broncos 4 Roosters 4 Plenty of missed chances in the first 40 as both teams struggle with their attacking cohesion. Petero Civoniceva, Karmichael Hunt and Anthony Minichiello are leading the way for their respective teams so far. Possession: Broncos 50% Roosters 50% Completion: Broncos 16/19 Roosters 13/21 Missed tackles: Broncos 18 Roosters 10 Errors: Broncos 4 Roosters 7 Offloads: Broncos 2 Roosters 7
Injury update - Apparently Corey Parker has had his fractured finger strapped up and will be returning to the field.
The second half is underway!
44 min: TRY - Roosters Anthony Minichiello scores after a great offload from Adrian Morley who had popped up in the middle of a backline move. Craig Fitzgibbon adds the extras. Broncos 4 Roosters 10
50 min: The Roosters have forced a goal-line drop out, and are certainly looking sharper on attack than they were in the first half. Berrick Barnes has limped off the field for the Broncos.
57 min: PENALTY GOAL - Roosters An 'interesting' decision from Tony Archer here. The Roosters are awarded a penalty after a series of grubber kicks, despite Luke Ricketson appearing to be the one that was offside. Craig Fitzgibbon adds the two points. Broncos 4 Roosters 12
58 min: TRY - Roosters Amazing stuff! From the kick off, Anthony Tupou breaks the line and pops a pass to Anthony Minichiello, who runs 80 metres (and around Karmichael Hunt) to score a great try. Craig Fitzgibbon's conversion attempt is waved away. Broncos 4 Roosters 16
62 min: Another injury concern for the Broncos, as David Stagg looks to have suffered a shoulder injury. Leon Bott finally gets his first run off the Broncos bench.
64 min: VIDEO REF - checking a possible Broncos try ...
64 min: NO TRY - Broncos Some wonderful stepping from Karmichael Hunt sees him go very close to scoring, but he loses the ball just short of the line in the tackle of Amos Roberts. Broncos 4 Roosters 16
66 min: TRY - Broncos Petero Civoniceva crashes over the line after a good short pass from Neville Costigan. Corey Parker steps up and adds the extras. Broncos 10 Roosters 16
71 min: Amos Roberts darts down the touchline and goes very close to scoring a try, but loses the ball.
73 min: FIELD GOAL - Roosters Brett Finch slots a valuable kick to open the lead to seven points. Broncos 10 Roosters 17
76 min: The Broncos get a scrum 30 metres out, this could be their last chance to stay in the match.
FULLTIME: Broncos 10 Roosters 17 The Roosters have hung on for a solid win tonight to keep their finals hopes alive, and will now turn their attention to other weekend results. The Broncos certainly tried hard, but will be counting on the return of some star players to keep their season afloat. Full time stats: Possession: Broncos 48% Roosters 52% Completion: Broncos 27/34 Roosters 31/42 Missed tackles: Broncos 42 (!) Roosters 18 Offloads: Broncos 5 Roosters 16
----------------------------------------- Leagueunlimited.com players of the match: 3 - Anthony Minichiello (Roosters) 2 - Karmichael Hunt (Broncos) 1 - Petero Civoniceva (Broncos) -----------------------------------------