St George Illawarra’s struggles in attack came back to bite them as a late Broncos blitz saw the visitors come away with a 22-6 win at WIN Stadium in Round 2.
The Dragons started well enough with Jason Nightingale catching the Brisbane defence napping with a 20-metre tap and racing away; however Justin Hodges produced a miracle play to haul in Jamie Soward with the try line beckoning and strip the ball in the process. It proved crucial, with the Broncos marching back downfield to score through Ben Hannant from close range.
St George Illawarra then enjoyed a sustained period of pressure with the ball in hand but it wasn’t until the half-hour mark that they finally posted their first points with a Nathan Fien short ball seeing Michael Weyman crash over to make it 6-all at the break.
The Dragons also had the advantage of an extra man either side of halftime after Hodges was sin-binned for a professional foul following his second try-saving tackle of the game, but it was Brisbane that broke the deadlock as a Hodges grubber moments after his return was fumbled and Josh Hoffman pounced in the corner.
Soon after it was 16-6 to the visitors as Peter Wallace found a rampaging Davis Stagg and the result was put beyond any doubt with seven minutes remaining when Corey Norman sliced through following a crisp backline move.
The stats belied the result, with the Dragons making 190 hit-ups to 161 and running for 1518 metres to Brisbane’s 1348. They also produced a whopping 15 offloads to four.
Corey Norman ran for 162 metres for the Broncos and Andrew McCullough chimed in with 50 tackles, while Brett Morris ran for 214 metres with two line-breaks for the home side.