Rookie Broncos winger Jamayne Isaako has sealed a dramatic win for the Brisbane Broncos with a controversial penalty goal in Golden Point over the previously unbeaten Tigers in a dour 9-7 victory at Campbelltown Sports Ground tonight.
In just his 4th First Grade game, Isaako scored all the points for the Broncos, kicking four penalty goals, as well as nailing the game tying field goal with four minutes remaining. In fact, it is the first time in Broncos history that Brisbane has won a match without scoring a try.
The dramatic win though wasn't without controversy, when referee Ashley Klein penalised Tigers markers Pita Godinet and Robbie Rochow for not being square at the play the ball right in front of the posts, after they both attempted to charge down Isaako's previous failed field goal attempt. The penalty flew in the face of the perception in the NRL, that the referees put the whistle in the pocket during Golden Point and left the black and gold army out at Campbelltown up in arms with the crucial decision.
While it was a heartbreaking loss for Ivan Cleary's new team, their defence was again a highlight, and for the third week straight they keep one of the premiership heavyweights to less than 10 points. For the home side, skipper Russell Packer was simply outstanding, with the co-captain making over 40 hits ups and 40 tackles in a blockbusting display from the Kiwi forward.
Broncos rookie Isakko looked to have snatched a timely field goal with minutes remaining, when the young gun showed remarkable composure for just a handful of first grade games to seemingly seal an dramatic late win for the visitors. The Tigers however refused to yield, when a short kickoff bounced in the Tigers favour. The Tigers forwards then marched forward and off the back of a quick play the ball, Luke Brooks calmly slotted the field goal to send the game into extra time.
It was a very dire affair in the first half, with both sides combing for a whopping 13 errors, highlighted by a comical Tigers set where there were 4 knock backs and finally a knock on in the one play in a bizarre sequence from the home side. In fairness, the Broncos were not much better, with big names players Anthony Milford and Darius Boyd also dropping some simple ball.
It wasn't until the 54th minute until the first try of the match occurred, when Tigers halfback Luke Brooks put in a deft grubber behind the Broncos line, which bounced up perfectly for interchange forward Michael Chee Kam to score the only try of the match to put the Tigers in front.
While this game will not be remembered for any free flowing attack, the Broncos will be delighted to leave Western Sydney with the two points, however the win may have come a some cost, with the Broncos now sweating on the fitness of Corey Oates (hip flexor) and Tevita Pangai (hamstring) who left the field in the first half and are now in serious doubt for their clash with the Titans next Sunday.
For the Tigers, while the loss was disheartening, their scrambling defence was again impressive and they will now turn their attention to bitter rivals Parramatta in their traditional Easter Monday clash at ANZ Stadium next week.