LIKE rivals Shane Flanagan and Michael Maguire before Origin I, Wests Tigers coach Michael Potter is no fan of one of his players having to turn out in a club game knowing an Origin jersey is waiting for him if he gets through unscathed.
But there was no suggestion NSW new cap Aaron Woods took it easy in the 32-12 loss to Brisbane at Suncorp Stadium. By midway through the second half, he was his team’s leading metre-eater and hit the ball up more than anyone else.
“It’s unfortunately that this is the way the system works at the moment,” said Potter.
“It would have been nice to have the announcement after Monday Night Footy. Secrets like that can’t stay out of the press, the press know before everyone else so they’ve made their announcement now.”
“It could be a positive. It could be a negative.”
Unfortunately for Potter, the looming second Origin game at the same venue was just as big a positive for a host of Queenslanders, with Broncos lock Corey Parker, centre Justin Hodges, utility Matt Gillett and selection hopeful Ben Hannant all outstanding.
After briefly scaring Queensland fans by going down injured early in the second half, Hodges recovered to score the try which put his side 20-6 up with 22 minutes to go.
The Broncos led 16-6 at the end of a first half highlighted by an unusual and spectacular Jack Reed try at the 27 minute mark.
Peter Wallace bombed crossfield with centre Reed executing one of the shortest grubber kicks in memory before Josh Hoffman kicked again with the England star winning the race to the ball in-goal.
Scott Prince missed the conversion attempt and Brisbane led 10-6.
Earlier, late Wests Tigers inclusion James Tedesco was first to trouble the scorer when Liam Fulton spotted Broncos custodian Corey Norman out of position and kicked into the in-goal. Benji Marshall’s conversion made it 6-0.
The joint venture side lost lock Braith Anasta to an AC joint injury after 10 minutes.
Brisbane’s first try came as a result of some feeble defence, Matthew Gillett twice palming off Marshall and also disposing of Eddy Pettybourne on a bumping 10 metre run to the line. There were suggestions Gillett grounded the ball short but referee Gavin Badger as on the spot to give the touchdown.
Seconds before, Hannant had roared into the clear, with Gillett backing up.
Wests Tigers had the chance to draw level when hooker Masada Iosefa burrowed over in the 33rd minute – but the referees ruled he had illegally used team-mate Jack Buchanan as an obstruction.
After Wests Tigers forward Sauaso Sue was pinged for tackling Ben Hannant late in front of the visitors’ posts, Prince ticked the scoreboard over ahead with a penalty goal.
And with just over 50 seconds remaining in the first session, Jack Reed’s ball sent Josh Hoffman diving over in the corner to bring up the halftime ledger, with Prince unable to add the extras.
Anthony Griffin’s side took 18 minutes of the second half to add to their total, Wests Tigers winger Joel Reddy fumbling a bomb and Hodges picking the ball up and scoring.
Five-eighth Prince scored a soft try from close range with 15 minutes left – but there was some handy lead-up, followed by a penalty, by Hodges and Andrew McCullough.
The result marked the Broncos’ first win in four starts and ended a two-match winning run for Michael Potter’s side. Iosefa is on report for an alleged trip on Thaiday
Wests Tigers have won just three from their last 10 games without injured captain Robbie Farah.
BRISBANE 32 (J Hoffman 2 M Gillett J Reed J Hodges S Prince tries S Prince 4 goals) bt WESTS TIGERS 12 (J Tedesco S Sue tries B Marshall 2 goals) at Suncorp Stadium. Referees: G Badger/A Shortall. Crowd: 21,339.
Filed for: SYDNEY MORNING HERALD