Broncos submit astonishing second half to dismantle Bulldogs

FINALS 2006 Week 3 Canterbury Bulldogs 20 v Brisbane Broncos 37at Aussie StadiumReferee: Paul SimpkinsMatch Summary:The Brisbane Broncos have become the first team to qualify for the 2006 Grand Final after staging a remarkable second-half comeback to defeat Canterbury Bulldogs by 37-20.They now face the winner of Melbourne and St George-Illawarra after piling on six tries in the second half to bash the usually dominant Bulldogs forward pack and complete a trifecta of victories over the Belmore club this season.Opening the scoring in the ninth minute, Brisbane survived an obstruction challenge by the video referee to plant the ball next to the posts. This only seemed to incite the Bulldogs, who went on a 20-point rampage to assert their dominance over the game.Asotasi opened up the Broncos defence in the 12th minute hitting a gap and offering the ball to Holdsworth who was swamped by Broncos defenders but still managed to ground the ball over the line.Not long after, Holdsworth left the field with an injured ankle and didn?t return with initial reports suggesting he?d injured his ligaments. It had no affect on them as Maitua entered the fray in the centres and Roberts went to five-eighth, providing instant results with Sherwin scoring under the posts following a brilliant off-load from Mason close to the line.El Masri knocked over a penalty goal in the 26th minute before Utai barged his way over the top of Boyd two minutes later to open up a 14-point lead. In a great open move the Bulldogs pushed the ball wide and the nuggetty Kiwi winger hit Boyd one-on-one to score - a scenario most wingers would fail to contain and as it was the Brisbane flanker did a reasonable job trying to defend his line.The scores remained at 20-6 into the break with the Broncos looking out on their feet and Canterbury cruising towards victory.But unbeknown to the Doggies, they wouldn?t score another point as whatever Wayne Bennett said at halftime had a profound effect on the Broncos. Firstly, Hodges replaced Hunt at fullback in what proved to be a masterstroke. Five minutes into the second half Hodges fielded a kick in his own in-goal area and took off, beating 3 Canterbury defenders and found Berrigan on his outside screaming down the western wing. Hodges gave the ball to Berrigan who tore off downfield, staving off two attempted tackles before scoring in the corner whilst being harassed by Mason towards the sideline. It was an astounding try and one of the most memorable in recent finals games, bringing the crowd of almost 30,000 to their feet.Whilst still trailing by 20-12, this try was clearly the turning point of the match as Brisbane began to mount an unanswered 31-point second half haul that embarrassed the Bulldogs in the finalFurther tries to Carlaw (49th minute), Boyd (60th minute) and Lockyer (67h minute) took the game away from Canterbury as they struggled to find options late in the tackle count and began to play one-out footy.A rugged effort by Brent Tate from close range put the game in Brisbane?s keeping as they lead 32-20 with just under 10 minutes to play. Lockyer snapped a field goal in the 78th minute while Parker rubbed salt into the wounds with a late try to wrap-up the game by 37-20.Some concern will go through the Broncos camp after Petero Civoniceva was placed on report by the referee for a high shot on Sonny Bill Williams. But it emerged that he would survive a Grade 2 careless high tackle with an early guilty plea.Other than that, Lockyer was brilliant as was Hodges and the Broncos march on towards their sixth Grand Final in their 19th season since entering the NSWRL.Canterbury will be left disappointed after failing to qualify for their second Grand Final in 3 years during an otherwise successful year.Scorers:Canterbury Bulldogs: 20Tries: Brent Sherwin, Matthew Utai, Daniel HoldsworthGoals: Hazem El Masri 4/4Brisbane Broncos: 37Tries: Shaun Berrigan(2), Dane Carlaw, Darren Lockyer, Corey Parker, Brent Tate, Darius BoydGoals: Darren Lockyer 1/1, Corey Parker 3/6Field Goals: Darren LockyerBy the Clock:Welcome to the first Qualifying Final of 2006 where the winner of tonight's game between Canterbury and Brisbane will advance to this year's Grand Final.We've had an absolutely cracking day in Sydney. It's a bit hot, a bit humid and you can smell the sweet September air.The ground is filling up nicely and this was the stage of the 1998 Grand Final, the last one played at the SFS, and these two teams took the field.Changes:Asotasi is into the starting side, so is Roberts who comes into the centres. Maitua back to the bench with Myles as well. Perry and Armit make up the rest of the bench. Some big changes in there. Brisbane are sure to test Roberts but the bench no longer carries as much impact with SBW and big Roy starting.For the Broncos, Hunt goes to fullback as he suggested with Hodges into the centres. Tate moves to the wing and the rest of the team is unchanged.This is going to be an absolute bell-ringer.Canterbury kick-off and we're underway here at the Footy Stadium!2 min: NEWS Both teams shaping up right now. No mistakes as they've both come to play.5 min: NEWS There's been some ridiculous off-loads. Civoniceva, Thaiday, SBW and Mason all in on the act.6 min: NEWS Hughes knocks-on in his own territory and the Broncos have a good opportunity here 40m out.8 min: NEWS Bulldogs muscling up here. Very strong defence.9 min: TRY Brisbane BroncosFirst try of the night goes to Shaun Berrigan who scored from a bit of broken play close to the Bulldogs line. Thorn for Brisbane was examined by the video ref for an obstruction but the try was awarded. Lockyer converts and the Broncos take an early lead. Broncos 6-012 min: NEWS Bulldogs responding here with some strong runs, good metres being made.12 min: TRY Canterbury BulldogsHuge try here as Asotasi makes a break about 30m out, pumps downfield, Holdsworth in support scores after being tackled a few metres out and being carried over the line. El Masri converts and we're back on an even kiel. 6 all.14 min: NEWS Sherwin kicks out on the full in an apparent 40-20 attempt.16 min: NEWS Broncos on the charge here.16 min: NEWS Tate denied a try as a textbook shephard from Lockyer gets pulled up.17 min: NEWS Holdsworth just limped off. Maitua has come on into the centres with Roberts moving to 5/8. Left ankle injury from the collision with Carroll in the aforementioned obstruction.19 min: NEWS An attacking raid by the Bulldogs is shut down, goal line drop-out by Brisbane goes 60m.21 min: TRY Canterbury BulldogsSherwin in under the sticks after Mason off-loads under intense traffic. Try awarded by the video ref after Simpkins wanted to check for a knock-on. El Masri converts and the Bulldogs have hit the lead for the first time tonight. Bulldogs 12-623 min: NEWS Looks like Holdsworth might be out for the rest of the game with this ankle injury.26 min: PENALTY GOAL Canterbury BulldogsEl Masri knocks over a penalty goal as Berrigan gets warned for holding down Emelio. Handy 8-point lead. Bulldogs 14-627 min: NEWS Penalties starting to flow for Canterbuy.28 min: TRY Canterbury BulldogsUtai scores out wide after receiving a great cut-out pass from Sherwin. The nuggetty winger runs over Boyd, but it was almost impossible to stop. El Masri knocks over the conversion from the sideline and the Bulldogs are looking good. Bulldogs 20-631 min: NEWS Roberts hits a 40-20 and the Bulldogs are on the attack again.33 min: NEWS Consecutive penalties to Brisbane gives them a god attacking opportunity.34 min: NEWS Tate muffs a good chance and Canterbury have the ball again.35 min: NEWS The Bulldogs have all the momentum right now.39 min: NEWS Brisbane just hanging on here, looking forward to halftime.40 min: NEWS Halftime here at the SFS where the Bulldogs are looking very good. They are in control of the contest and are displaying all the signs of a Grand Final side.Brisbane dropped their bundle late in the second half and Utai's try really hurt them. They can come back but need to start playing more enthusiastically and perhaps try something different. Hodges to fullback?The second half presents an intriguing contest as the Broncos fight to continue their season against a dominant Canterbury team.Brisbane have made 62 more tackles and are in desperate need of possession. If it evens out, they could come home.41 min: NEWS Brisbane restart proceedings...42 min: NEWS Hodges back to fullback, Hunt to the wing.43 min: NEWS Some bruising play here with the Broncos hurting Canterbury.45 min: TRY Brisbane BroncosA 100 metre try from the Broncos! Hodges fields the ball in his own in-goal and runs about 40m breaking 3 tackles before giving a ball to Berrigan who goes the rest of the length, fending off challenges from two players before carrying Mason over the line almost upside down. What an beauty! Parker boots it from the sideline and it's game on. Bulldogs 20-1248 min: NEWS Hodges has spiders on him at the moment...49 min: TRY Brisbane BroncosAfter a turnover from the Bulldogs, Brisbane pressure the line and Dane Carlaw powers over out wide to score with several defenders hanging off him. The Broncos aren't going to die wondering tonight. Canterbury have fallen asleep. Parker converts from almost the exact same spot and we have a ball-tearer here at the SFS. Bulldogs 20-1854 min: NEWS Rubbish option from Lockyer who lets the Dogs off the hook with a poorly directed bomb.57 min: NEWS SBW a little ginger after being monstered by Civoniceva. The Brisbane prop is on report and it doesn't look real good. Swinging arm to the head of SBW.58 min: NEWS Tate knocks-on. He is having an absolute shocker, the guy can't hold the ball at all.60 min: TRY Brisbane BroncosThe Broncos are in again after spinning it wide on the eastern flank. Lockyer gives it to Tate who runs about 30m before offloading to Boyd who beats Patten and brings it around under the sticks. Tate redeems himself well after a string of mistakes. But Parker misses his easiest attempt of the night. Broncos 22-2067 min: TRY Brisbane BroncosThe Broncos are in again and I think they've got this one. Lockyer steps through in the middle of the park before giving it to Carroll. He runs 20m, beating Utai before holding off Patten and giving it back to Lockyer to score next to the posts. The Broncos are on fire! Amazingly Parker misses again from an easy position. Broncos 26-2069 min: NEWS Canterbury take a short kick and Sherwin recovers.70 min: NEWS Terrible call by the ref there after McGuire charges down a kick and the Bulldogs are refused an extra set of six.71 min: TRY Brisbane BroncosThe Broncos are in again this time through Tate. Lockyer junks and weaves before finding Tate who beats Maitua and Patten to the line. The video ref checks for a double movement and awards the try. Parker kicks it this time and Brisbane open up a 12-point lead. Broncos 32-2076 min: NEWS Crowd: 29,51178 min: FIELD GOAL Brisbane BroncosLockyer puts the icing on the cake with a nifty field goal to wrap things up with 2 1/2 minutes left. Broncos 33-2079 min: TRY Brisbane BroncosBrisbane are just destroying them now with Parker crossing out wide to make the score embarrassing. Parker misses from the sideline and the Broncos run out very handsome winners. Broncos 37-2080 min: NEWS All over here at the SFS. An amazing comeback from Brisbane and they qualify for their sixth Grand Final.-----------------------------------------Leagueunlimited.com players of the match:3 - Darren Lockyer2 - Justin Hodges1 - Tonie Carroll-----------------------------------------

Preview: Bradford v Salford

SALFORD skipper Malcolm Alker is hoping to avoid more public humiliation at Bradford on Saturday in his side's first-ever Super League play-off tie.

Preview: Leeds v Warrington

LEEDS welcome back Jamie Peacock and Chev Walker as they face Warrington in the first elimination play-off ahead of next month's Grand Final.

Remaining QRL Finals

TOOWOOMBA - one of the oldest and healthiest rugby leagues in Queensland - hosts its finale this weekend, while Kaiwalagal Rugby League in the Torres Strait also reaches its climax.ABC Radio will broadcast the Toowoomba match live.SATURDAYKAIWALAGAL RL (Torres Strait)Grand Final: Roosters v Dragons, Ken Brown Oval, Saturday September 23, 3pm. (Torres Strait cultural festival all weekend).SUNDAYWAGNER?S FIRST GRADE (Toowoomba)Grand Final: Brothers v Valleys, Clive Berghofer Stadium, Sunday September 24, 2.30pm. (Reserves ? Valleys v Oakey, 12.30pm. Under 18 ? Souths v Brothers, 10.45am).** SATURDAY-SUNDAY Sept 30-Oct 1GULF COMMUNITY LEAGUECarnival 5 (Including Grand Final): Burketown, September 30-October 1.

Arrive Alive Cup Final Match Report

KEEBRA Park State High has suffered a heart-breaking end to its Arrive Alive Cup campaign, losing the national schoolboys rugby league final 16-7 to Endeavour Sports High.Two tries in the final eight minutes to Endeavour saw the southern Sydney school collect back-to-back crowns after Keebra Park had previously led 7-6.At halftime at Aussie Stadium the two talent-laden sides were level 6-all.Five-eighth Robert Lui then kicked a field goal for Keebra Park early in the second half, having scored his team?s sole try in the opening stanza.With less than 20 minutes to hold the lead, the Gold Coasters pulled out all stops in defence.Endeavour went mightily close on one occasion, but was held up across the line on the final tackle.Unfortunately the show of strength by Keebra evaporated to nothing as they then surrendered the ball coming off their line.Endeavour converted the opportunity, but missed the conversion attempt to make it a tantalising 10-7 score with time running out.So reliable throughout Keebra?s campaign, fullback Matt Parata then kicked the ball dead on the full, handing over possession again in prime territory.Endeavour made no mistake in closing out the game, scoring a third try and following up on their 20-10 win over Keebra Park in the 2005 national final."If not for a few errors Keebra would have been right in there for the title," said Queensland Arrive Alive Cup co-ordinator Phil Hall.Keebra had won great respect in qualifying for the national final, beating tough opposition in Palm Beach Currumbin, St Brendan's Yeppoon and St Dominic's Penrith.ARRIVE ALIVE CUPNational Final: Keebra Park SHS v Endeavour Sports High, Aussie Stadium, Sydney, Friday September 22, 4.10pmFull time:ENDEAVOUR SPORTS HIGH 16 (Anthony Cherrington 2, Ryan Carr tries; Chase Stanley 2 goals)defeatedKEEBRA PARK STATE HIGH 7 (Robert Lui try; Matt Parata goal; Robert Lui field goal).

NZ's top young talent on show

THE next generation of New Zealand Rugby League talent will face off against their Australian rivals next week.

King passes fitness test

MELBOURNE centre Matt King has passed a searching fitness test on his injured knee at the Storm's final training session ahead of their NRL preliminary final against St George Illawarra tomorrow night.

Tougher to pick than a broken nose

A little birdie told me today that picking a winner in Broncos and Bulldogs game tonight was tougher than picking a broken nose and given his melon resembles that of Dane Carlaw?s last Saturday night, I guess I?ll have to take his word for it.

Is the NRL facing an ?out of town? GF as well?

IF the market framers are right, the NRL this weekend will avoid repeating the AFL experience of an "out of town" grand final ? but you wouldn't want to bet your house on it. The bookies narrowly favour a "home town" grand final on Sunday week between the Bulldogs and the Dragons. For mine both preliminary finals are even money contests. It does not get much better.

Preliminary Finals Preview

WE?VE arrived at the penultimate weekend of rugby league with the best four teams left standing, providing indisputable evidence that every now and then the McIntyre 8 system actually does work.

Raper released from Sharks contract

CRONULLA has confirmed coach Stuart Raper was released from his contract with the Sharks this morning.

Superleague Preview Play-Offs Wk 1

AND then there were six? welcome to the business end of the season. This weekend sees the opening clashes in the Superleague play-offs with four teams facing the prospect of elimination, while the two highest ranked teams (St Helens and Hull) have earned themselves a weekend of rest. The top six will soon become the final four ? game on!Friday: Leeds Rhinos v Warrington Wolves8pm at Headingley Stadium Third place v sixth place, loser eliminatedThis is the first season since 2002 where Leeds has not finished in the top two on the competition ladder. However they will take hope from the feats of Bradford last season, who from third position ended up Champions. By comparison the Leeds squad looks a little weaker in some places than in previous years, and they enter the finals with injured first choice fullback Richard Mathers, and regular bench forward Willie Poching.Warrington made it through to the second week last season with the talents of Andrew Johns at their disposal, and will be looking to match that achievement with the current squad. Ten of their 20-man squad played alongside Joey in last season?s play-offs, but they too start their finals campaign without injured first choice fullback Brett Grose, hooker or loose forward Jon Clarke and prop Mark Hilton.This should be a fast-paced game owing to the creativity of both sides, but with some good forward clashes as well. Keep an eye out for Dream Team second rower Leeds? Gareth Ellis, but the match-up that may well decide the result is in the halves where Dream Team five-eighth Danny McGuire and Rob Burrow square off against Salford?s Chris Bridge and Lee Briers. Lee Briers has had a mid-week meeting with Great Britain coach Brian Noble, and will be desperate to use this last chance to try and force his way onto the Tri-Nations tour. Leeds Rhinos 20-man squad: Donald, Walker, Senior, Smith, McGuire, Burrow, Bailey, Diskin, Peacock, Lauitiiti, Ellis, Sinfield, Millard, Jones-Buchanan, Scruton, Kirke, Williams, Tansey, Thackray, Toopi. Coach: Tony Smith (Aus).Warrington Wolves 20-man squad: Fa'afili, Mn. Gleeson, Kohe-Love, Reardon, Briers, Sullivan, Leikvoll, Swann, Wainwright, Mk. Gleeson, Westwood, Wood, Barnett, Parker, Rauhihi, Pickersgill, Riley, Bridge, Harrison, Penny. Coach: Paul Cullen.Referee: R SilverwoodLeeds last five games: LWWLWWarrington last five games: LWLWLRound 26: Leeds 54 Warrington 16 at HeadingleyRound 12: Warrington 44 Leeds 16 at Halliwell JonesBart?s tip: Leeds by 12.Saturday: Bradford Bulls v Salford City Reds6pm at Grattan StadiumFourth place v fifth place, loser eliminatedThe reigning Champions won their way through from sudden death last season, so that prospect alone won?t be causing too much concern in the Bulls camp. And at least their topsy-turvy patches of form during the season may have been put right with a confident win last start under pressure against Huddersfield. The Bulls look to be at full strength for their finals campaign with no major injury problems.Salford by contrast are competing in their first ever Superleague play-off, and have achieved a long held ambition under coach Karl Harrison to make the top six. However the Reds won?t want to let things stop there, and having contested a tight match at home against Bradford in June will fancy themselves every chance of winning here. The only regular players missing from the squad for the start of the finals are the injured second rower Ian Sibbit and centre Junior Langi.The hard-working Salford side are likely to look to restrict the creative opportunities of Bradford, and in a close game are more than capable of getting a roll on their opposition. Bradford will be likely to try and dominate the ruck area and then quicken the pace of the game and the score line in their favour. Some key match ups will be hookers Terry Newton and Ian Henderson up against Salford?s Malcolm Auker, Bradford halves Iestyn Harris and Paul Deacon battling with Andrew Dunemann and Luke Robinson, and keep an eye out for danger man and Dream Team winger Salford?s David Hodgson. Bradford Bulls 20-man squad: Johnson, Burgess, Meyers, Cook, I. Harris, Bai, Pryce, St Hilaire, B. Harris, Langley, Newton, Ferres, Deacon, Vagana, Vainikolo, Hape, McKenna, Withers, Lynch, Henderson. Coach: Steve MacNamara.Salford City Reds 20-man squad: Fitzpatrick, Hodgson, McGuinness, Moule, Dunemann, Robinson, Coley, Alker, Rutgerson, Finnigan, Charles, Highton, Wilshere, Haggerty, Littler, Brocklehurst, Adamson, Lima, Williams, Turner. Coach: Karl Harrison.Referee: A KleinBradford last five games: LWLLWSalford last five games: WLLWLRound 19: Salford 17 Bradford 16 at The WillowsRound 3: Bradford 34 Salford 4 at Odsal (Grattan) StadiumBart?s tip: Bradford by 8.Broadcast detailsBoth games shown live in the UK on Sky Sports 3. Both games shown live in NZ on Sky Sport 2 (Sat 6:50 am) and Sky Sport 1 (Sun 4:50 am).Both games shown delayed in Australia on Friday 29 September (TBC) on Fox Sports.Leeds v Warrington covered live through BBC Radio Leeds: http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio/aod/leeds.shtml

Community helps out following fraud

LEAGUE COMMUNITY LENDS HANDTHE RUGBY league community continues to come to the aid of families in Queensland?s northwest, disadvantaged this week by an apparent fraud case.In the latest development QRL sponsors Wizard Home Loans have combined with regional airline Macair to ensure the safe return of teenage NRL hopeful Winston Dale Amini to his family home on remote Mornington Island.Winston and his father John had travelled to Mount Isa from their base in the Gulf of Carpentaria last Friday, preparing to trial with the Newcastle Knights.On Monday they discovered the flights and opportunity for which they had paid a ?talent scout?, had not been booked.Since then Winston and John have been stranded in Mount Isa until the point today when they no longer had funds available to cover their costs.Wizard Home Loans have come to the party, covering the Aminis? accommodation for the last three days and allowing them to return home with a few extra dollars.Further to this, Macair generously contacted the QRL on Wednesday evening and indicated they would fly the Aminis free of charge to Mornington Island. They are scheduled to depart Mount Isa on Friday morning.Winston and John are believed to be the last of the individuals stuck in Mount Isa.The generosity of the league community has not been restricted to Queensland. Troy Mara of Cloncurry, has received exceptional hospitality since being stranded alone at Sydney Airport on Monday evening.The Wests Tigers have housed Troy all week and in coming days he will receive trials with both the Sydney Roosters and Bulldogs.NRL Welfare Officer Matt Parish has personally accompanied Troy and has organised for him to attend both NRL finals this weekend and tonight?s filming of The Footy Show.All other boys will receive their opportunity to trial in Sydney in January, when there is an opportunity for them to have an extended stay and receive a more beneficial experience. All NRL clubs in Sydney have agreed to assist with the exercise.The January trials will be organised in partnership with the NRL, ARL and the National Aboriginal Sports Corporation of Australia.In addition to those organisations listed above, thanks are also due to Queensland Police, Member for Mount Isa Betty Kiernan, QRL Northern Division Manager Bob Newsome, Waltons? Motor Court of Mount Isa and Pacific Sports Management.

Carting it up with Stevo

SUNDAY too far away

Bulldogs and Broncos news

BULLDOGS prop Roy Asotasi has passed his final fitness test and is a certain starter for tomorrow night's preliminary final against Brisbane at Aussie Stadium.

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