Brisbane Broncos take the chocolates in a wild affair 24-22 which dents the New Zealand Warriors finals hopes on a bright Sunday afternoon at Suncorp Stadium.
Late season rugby league can deliver some weird encounters and this afternoon at Suncorp, we saw moments of magic, supreme skill and the rarely seen allergy to catching the football which saw the Brisbane Broncos edge out the Warriors and move into 14th spot.
Coming into the game, Warriors had everything to play for and started the opposite of that conceding the first two tries to a Broncos side playing for nothing else but pride at the end of the season. Warriors hit back just before the break through former Bulldog Marcelo Montoya to make it 12-4.
For the Broncos, it was like turning back the clock in the first half. Anthony Milford, recalled to the side due to Tyson Gamble's injury, produced a peach of a ball for Xavier Coates to stretch their advantage to 12-nil. Coates earlier spooked Reece Walsh and opened the scoring with a kind bounce.
Walsh had a mixed afternoon at the back for the Warriors. He created the space for the first try and was dangerous when he touched the ball but the youngster back at Suncorp, against his old side, had a terrible night from the kicking tee, kicking one goal from five.
Trailing at the break, Warriors needed a spark. It came from veteran Peta Hiku. The centre got the Warriors within four points when he pounced on his own kick on the right edge then produced an extravagent flick pass which put Dallin Watene-Zelezniak over to make it 18-18.
Brisbane might have lacked execution at some points in the game but created enough to take the points tonight. Once again, it came from Milford. His chip kick for Tesi Niu ended up with a room service bounce for Albert Kelly to wrestle back the lead. Milford is headed to the Rabbitohs in 2022 and showed his wares to get the Broncos home.
Milford put up the high kick which was batted back by Herbie Farnworth before the five-eighth backed up in support to make it 24-18. If this was his final game in the Broncos jumper he gave them one last moment of magic to enjoy.
New Zealand did get one final chance to take us into extra point. Euan Aitken was the beneficiary of a generous bunker decision to award a late four-pointer. The centre turned backrower was judged to get to the ball first to make it 24-22. Walsh continued his woes from the tee and swung the conversion wide.