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James Maloney scored a hat-trick this afternoon at Suncorp, equalling coach Ivan Cleary's point-scoring record and leading the Warriors to a 48-16 victory over the Broncos.
The medical staff were spread thin during the first half, with four players forced out of the game and several others injured. Israel Folau came off with a bone protruding from his finger. Denan Kemp suffered fractured ribs. Manu Vatuvei and then Simon Mannering pulled hamstrings and hobbled off. Michael Luck had blood pouring from his head but a carton of bandages dealt to that. Wade McKinnon looked to be in serious trouble as well until his finger was popped back in.
After escaping a two-match ban midweek, James Maloney repaid his lawyer's hard work several times over. He scored the last three of the Warriors' eight tries, added to seven conversions and a penalty for a 28 point haul.
The Broncos have never conceded more points at Suncorp Stadium. They led after the first quarter, thanks to a Folau try off the back of a good break from Gillett. But when Kemp and Folau were both forced off, the Warriors pounded the hole left in defence. Vatuvei had a hand in two tries before his injury. Gillett struck back for the Broncos before halftime, closing the gap to 14-10.
The Broncos reclaimed the lead not long after the break, McCullough pushing over from dummy-half. But that was to be their last scoring play.
Ropati opened the floodgates in the 47th minute, the first of six unanswered tries coming off the back of a McKinnon break. From then on it was what is generally referred to as "vintage Warriors". The fans will likely be pushing to keep the vintage jerseys too, anything to inspire more of this sort of form.
Heremaia and Hohaia were ingenious in attack for the Warriors. Heremaia was strong in defence as well, chipping in with 30 tackles, while Luck added 36 to his season tally. Gillett and Kenny were relative stand-out performers for Brisbane. The Broncos were obviously unlucky to lose two stars early on, but with the Warriors losing two key players as well, the home-side really had no excuses.
The Broncos have until Friday to regather, they travel to the SFS to take on the Roosters and will be looking to avoid three straight losses after a promising round one. The Warriors will host the Sea Eagles at Mt Smart on Sunday.
Brisbane Broncos 16 were defeated by New Zealand Warriors 48
National Rugby League - NRL - Round 3 - Sunday March 28, 2010 2:00pm
Venue: Suncorp Stadium
Referee: Steve Lyons and Alan Shortall
Video Referee: Tim Mander
Touch Judges: Daniel Eastwood and Ricky McFarlane
Halftime: Brisbane Broncos 10 New Zealand Warriors 14
Leagueunlimited.com players of the match:
3 Points - James Maloney (3 Tries, 7 Conversions, 1 Penalty Goal)
2 Points - Aaron Heremaia
1 Point - Lance Hohaia (1 Try)
BRISBANE BRONCOS (16)
Tries: Matt Gillett, Andrew McCullough, Israel Folau
Conversions: Peter Wallace (2/3)
NEW ZEALAND WARRIORS (48)
Tries: Lance Hohaia, Simon Mannering, Jerome Ropati (2), Joel Moon, James Maloney (3)
Conversions: James Maloney (7/8)
Penalty Goals: James Maloney (1/1), Kevin Locke (0/1)
LeagueUnlimited.com Live Commentary Welcome to this afternoon's coverage from Suncorp. The sun has gone behind the clouds and the humidity has dropped, no doubt to the Warriors' relief. Still very warm though.