The Brisbane Broncos have locked in their spot in the NRL finals series with an impressive 22-8 win over the Sydney Roosters in front of 13,000 fans in the final regular season NRL game played at the Sydney Football Stadium.
The Brisbane Broncos headed to 'Allianz' knowing that a win against the Broncos would seal their spot in the top 8 and set the top 8 in stone with a week remaining to the finals. Their opponents however weren't going to be easy beats with the second placed Roosters facing the Broncos.
The Broncos opened the scoring after just seven minutes with a penalty goal from Jamayne Isaako after the Roosters were slow away from a tackle on their own 30m line. The first try of the game came after 15 minutes and it was the Roosters who were able to score through Blake Ferguson. The Roosters try came off a good piece play from Luke Keary who spotted a gap in behind the wide Broncos defenders and some good work from Blake Ferguson to keep his foot inside the sideline and score in the corner. Latrell Mitchell added the conversion and the Roosters opened a 6-2 lead.
The hit-back was almost instant from the Broncos after the Roosters made the cardinal sin of not completing their set after points. The Broncos first try of the game was set up by a combination of a Darius Boyd crossfield run and some poor defence from the Roosters. The Roosters defence stood by and watched Boyd slide across the field before turning the ball inside to Corey Oates who had too much strength and scored. The conversion was good and the Broncos had a two point lead.
The Roosters levelled things up with a penalty goal of their own after the Broncos couldn't complete their set after points before giving away their own ruck penalty to give the Roosters the opportunity to level the scores. The biggest talking point of the game came at the 25 minute mark when Dylan Napa saw deja vu hit when he was sent to the sin bin after another high tackle/head clash with a Broncos player and this time it was Andrew McCullough. The Broncos took advantage of the extra man when Jamayne Isaako got the ball on the outside of the Roosters defence and put on the footwork before getting the ball down in the corner.
The Broncos added another penalty goal to extend their lead back to 6 following a Roosters ruck infringement before another mistake cost the Roosters a try. The Broncos final try of the half and of the match as it turned out came off some calamitous play from Daniel Tupou and James Tedesco. A harmless Anthony Milford bomb looked set to be taken at the back by Tedesco but for some reason Daniel Tupou charged in and jumped for the ball, losing it in the process and Kodi Nikorima picked it up and went through to score. Isaako converted from close range and the Broncos had an unlikely 20-8 lead.
The second half was a battle of attrition with the Broncos defence shutting down the Roosters at all opportunity. The bunker was called in twice in the opening 15 minutes to check on possible tries to both the Broncos and Roosters however both decisions came back sticking with Gerard Sutton's live decision of No Try with knock on's ruled against Jordan Kahu and James Tedesco respectively. The Roosters had to spend the middle stages of the second half again down to 12 men when Latrell Mitchell was sent to the sin bin after being in no-man's land after a break and came from behind play to make a tackle and as such as binned for a professional foul. Jamayne Isaako added another penalty goal and took the score out to 22-8.
The Roosters kept creating opportunities to try and get back into the game but they just couldn't get anything to stick with plenty of drop ball and a No Try from the bunker denying them a second try for the night.
Next weekend, the Roosters have the best possible chance to grow their confidence before the finals with a game against the Eels next Saturday night at ANZ Stadium whilst the Brisbane Broncos are back at Suncorp Stadium with a clash against the Manly Sea Eagles on Sunday.