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3 hours ago | Tim Costello
A dominant second half performance has seen the Brisbane Broncos keep their finals hopes alive with a 28-6 win over the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs at Suncorp Stadium.
Temporarily moving one point outside the top eight in ninth position, the Broncos posted five tries to one in a match most notable for Belinda Sharpe becoming the first female NRL referee.
Opening the scoring through a Kotoni Staggs penalty goal in the 11th minute, the Brisbane centre was on the spot to support a well-timed Jamayne Isaako offload a few moments later to give the home side a 6-0 lead.
Responding in the 23rd minute after Fijian international Brandon Wakeham showed great confidence to take on the line from close range, the visitors drew the scores level with Nick Meaney adding a penalty goal from in front in the 31st minute.
Striking back just before the break courtesy of a brilliant offload from Tevita Pangai Jr in the lead up, Isaako scored his first try of the season to send the Broncos to the sheds up 10-6.
Establishing a converted try buffer shortly after the resumption via a Staggs penalty goal, a beautiful cut-out pass from Darius Boyd sent Corey Oates over in the 51st minute.
Securing the results ten minutes later after Staggs exploited makeshift centre Corey Harawira-Naera to record his first NRL double, the Bulldogs threatened to launch a comeback but lacked class inside the Broncos half.
Taking the score out to 22-6 with Staggs' third penalty goal with five minutes remaining, a contentious penalty try to Oates just before fulltime saw the Maroons speedster register his 12th try from 14 matches this season.
Playing in his 250th match for the club, Andrew McCullough was afforded the final conversion to see the Broncos run out 28-6 winners before a crowd of 20,818 supporters.
Despite the loss the Bulldogs showed plenty of effort throughout the duration with Josh Jackson producing an effort in the closing stages on Oates reminiscent of Scott Sattler's immortal tackle in the 2003 grand final in a sign the wooden spoon will not be headed to Belmore.
Next week, the Broncos face the Titans on Saturday evening at Cbus Super Stadium, while the Bulldogs host the Roosters at ANZ Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
Brisbane Broncos 28 - Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 6
Venue: Suncorp Stadium
Halftime Score: Brisbane Broncos 10 Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 6
LeagueUnlimited.com Players of the Match:
3 points - Payne Haas
2 points - David Fifita
1 points - Josh Jackson
BRISBANE BRONCOS (28)
Tries: Kotoni Staggs (2), Jamayne Isaako, Corey Oates (2)
Conversions: Andrew McCullough (1/1), Kotoni Staggs (0/4)
Penalty Goals: Kotoni Staggs (3/3)
CANTERBURY-BANKSTOWN BULLDOGS (6)
Tries: Brandon Wakeham
Conversions: Nick Meaney (0/1)
Penalty Goals: Nick Meaney (1/1)