MITCHELL Pearce and Boyd Cordner on Friday night did their bit to decimate Brisbane’s Friday night economy.
With 1:45 left in the Broncos-Sydney Roosters epic at Suncorp Stadium, most of the 33,381 crowd was eying a bar on nearby Caxton Street and after that, destination unknown with the home side headed to a famous victory, leading the premiers 26-24.
But halfback Pearce found second-rower Cordner arrow towards the left upright and the 11th hour try ruined – and probably ended – the nights of many. For the Broncos, the operation was a success but the patient died during a breakneck second half when the lead changed every few minutes.
A brisk first half finished at 12-12. Brisbane halfback Ben Hunt, taking the ball on the blindside in the south-western corner, threw a dummy and glided over for the opening try in the sixth minute, which was duly converted by Corey Parker.
But former Rooster Martin Kennedy lost the ball from the kickoff in a thunderous tackle And ex-team-mate Michael Jennings scored from the next set. Jennings stepped inside Dale Copley with apparent ease, James Maloney tying the scores on 10 minutes.
Roosters prop Sam Moa seemed to be stopped well short of the line five minutes later but his formidable leg drive propelled him across the stripe, grounding the ball for a converted try despite the attentions of several defenders. The premiers seemed to be on a roll and they were sternly tested for an extended period at Brisbane launched incessant waves of attack at the southern end they defended.
Hunt’s kick was fumbled by Anthony Minichiello under his own posts and Sam Thaiday pounced, saluting a rapturous crowd after planting the ball in the in-goal.
Parker snaffled an easy goal and that was the sum total of the first half’s scoring.
Sydney Roosters replacement Kane Evans was reported for a high shot on Matt Gillett in the 30th minute and Jake Friend went off for concussion assessment not long afterwards.
When an in-goal divot delayed a Sydney Roosters line dropout just after halftime, Parker walked over and put the turf back in place.
His immediate reward for the sense of urgency was his team reclaiming the lead, via his own penalty goal after 44 minutes,
Anthony Minichiello had been penalised for delaying tactics in front of his own posts; “that’s three in a row,” Parker told Shayne Hayne, “someone’s got to go.”
But Brisbane’s shifting of gears was more lavishly rewarded when Hunt cut out Copley with a pass that found winger Lachlan Maranta, who dashed over in the north-eastern corner.
Parker’s missed touch line conversion left a six-point Broncos advantage – but it didn’t last long.
Parker complained defender Josh Hoffman was obstructed by decoy Mitch Aubusson as Tricolours centre Shaun Kenny-Dowall crossed out wide. “He held him up for half a second – which was the difference between Hoffy getting him and not.”
Video referees Luke Patten and Steve Clark disagreed, flashing the green light for a converted try which again tied the scores.
The Broncos then seemed to won the game with a merciless one-two punch. First, Jack Reed forced his way over off Josh Hoffman’s pass, then Hunt was rewarded for an outstanding evening by scrambling over for a four-pointer of his own.
SYDNEY ROOSTERS 30 (B Cordner M Jennings S Kenny-Dowall S Moa R Tuivasa-Sheck tries J Maloney 5 goals) bt BRISBANE 26 (B Hunt 2 L Maranta J Reed S Thaiday tries C Parker 3 goals) at Suncorp Stadium. Referees: S Hayne/ C James. Crowd: 33,381.
Filed for: SYDNEY MORNING HERALD