Nigel Wall,, NRL.com
Brisbane celebrated club stalwart Petero Civoniceva’s 300th NRL game with a spirited 26-12 victory over South Sydney at Suncorp Stadium in Round 16 last season.
Both sides had their chances early; Brisbane had a try disallowed with just five minutes on the clock when Sam Thaiday’s pass to fullback Josh Hoffman was ruled forward, then Rabbitohs centre Andrew Everingham butchered a certain four-pointer when he dummied instead of passing to unmarked teammate Adam Reynolds in the 15th minute.
It was left to Brisbane’s Justin Hodges to open the night’s scoring midway through the first stanza, the centre swooping on a Justin Hunt mistake covering Peter Wallace’s grubber kick into the in-goal.
However, Souths struck back three minutes before halftime through a try to Chris McQueen that saw them head to the sheds with a 6-4 advantage.
Brisbane seized the initiative early in the second half when Alex Glenn touched down after catching a Wallace chip adjacent to the goalposts for a 10-6 lead and looked like going further ahead when they spread the ball wide to the left edge in the 48th minute before Nathan Merritt intercepted a Corey Norman pass and raced 90 metres to score against the run of play.
That made it 12-10 but the home team regained control on the hour when winger Dale Copley crossed in the left corner – although replays suggested a pass from Norman to Jack Reed in the lead-up may have been thrown forward.
Brisbane’s fourth try, scored by five-eighth Norman in the 65th minute for a 22-12 lead, was truly freakish. Hooker Andrew McCullough chip-kicked over the South Sydney defence and booted the ball on the volley; incredibly the Steeden glanced off opposition fullback Greg Inglis into the hands of support player Corey Norman who strolled over to score.
New Rabbitoh Ben Te’o completed the scoring for the Broncos, charging over with a minute left on the clock, before Civoniceva missed the conversion attempt.
Brisbane dominated possession (61 percent to 39 per cent), territory (1839 metres to 1272) and line-breaks (4-2), with Souths buckling under the weight of a defensive workload that saw them have to make 124 more tackles than the home team (420 to 296).