Roosters steal late victory in Brisbane
The Roosters have snatched victory from the jaws of defeat, scoring two late tries to come from eight points down in the final five minutes to record a 30-26 victory over the Broncos in front of a parochial crowd of 33,381 at Suncorp Stadium.
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Dropped ball and conceded penalties were the Roosters' Achilles heel for the majority of the match but the Chooks showed why they are the defending premiers, displaying a never-say-die attitude to stun the Broncos, who seemed destined for victory after Ben Hunt crossed with six minutes remaining.
The topsy-turvy contest was dominated by the Broncos halfback, however it was his opposite number Mitchell Pearce who delivered the final ball for Boyd Cordner inside the last minute to hand the boys from Bondi their second win of the season.
The Broncos farewelled retired winger Jharal Yow Yeh prior to kick-off with a guard of honour on arrival by both the Broncos' under-20s and first grade sides followed by an emotional lap of Suncorp Stadium.
Spurred on by the pre-game emotion, the home side made a dream start to the contest with a try after six minutes off the back of a Roosters mistake from 40 metres out.
On the last, Matt Gillett took position at dummy-half and shaped to pass on the open side in order to find a kicking option. Not finding anyone willing to receive the ball, Gillett turned to the blind side and found Ben Hunt fool Michael Jennings with a dummy to dive over.
The Roosters hit back almost instantaneously after former Chook Martin Kennedy knocked on from the first tackle. Moments later the visitors spread the ball out to the left with James Maloney finding speedster Jennings, who stepped passed Dale Copley to lock the scores up at 6-6.
From the restart the Broncos kicked the ball dead resulting in a Roosters penalty on halfway; the Tricolours couldn't capitalise from their initial foray into Brisbane's territory, but found their way over for their second try in the next set.
Prop Sam Moa wrestled his way over the line from close range, overpowering the Broncos' defenders to give the Roosters a 12-6 lead after 15 minutes.
The see-sawing nature of the contest continued in the 23rd minute when the Broncos levelled the score at 12-12. The routinely reliable Anthony Minichiello spilt the ball in front of his own line from a Ben Hunt grubber and Sam Thaiday mopped up the crumbs to score under the sticks.
The frantic pace of the match was unrelenting, with the Broncos piling on the pressure as a result of an increase in possession, however they couldn't convert their territorial advantage into points.
The Roosters had two opportunities to cross the line inside the last three minutes of the half, but on both occasions they dropped the ball letting the Broncos off the hook.
With Brisbane enjoying 59 per cent of the ball in the first term, the Roosters were lucky that the scoreboard was level at the break.
Handling errors dominated the opening exchanges of the second half, but a penalty conceded by Minichiello right in front of the uprights gifted Corey Parker an easy two points, handling the Broncos the lead again at 14-12 in the 53rd minute.
The visitors conceded a cheap penalty on two minutes later, allowing the Broncos to mount another attack. From the resulting set, Brisbane raided the short side again with Andrew McCullough finding halfback Hunt, who delivered a cut-out pass to an unmarked Lachlan Maranta to dive over in the corner. Parker's conversion attempt was waved away, with the Broncos jumping out to an 18-12 lead.
Sydney struck back in the 60th minute in contentious circumstances after Shaun Kenny-Dowall crossed out wide with some hints of obstruction in the lead-up affecting Brisbane's defensive line. The try was eventually awarded and Maloney nailed the conversion to lock the scores back up at 18-18.
Five minutes later the Roosters looked likely to score, but they spilt the ball and the Broncos went on the counter-attack, drawing a penalty to claw their way back into an attacking position. Ben Hunt went agonisingly close to scoring, but was pulled down inches short on the last.
It was Hunt who inspired the Broncos downfield again after earning a repeat set, which led a try to Jack Reed. Brisbane had the forward momentum and after running the ball on the last, Josh Hoffman rifled a ball to Reed who muscled his way over the line. Parker hit the post with his conversion, leaving the Broncos with a 22-18 advantage heading into the final 10 minutes.
Another penalty conceded by the Broncos piggy-backed them up the field, allowing the home side to mount another attacking raid. From the next set, Hunt took the line on and weaved his way over the to give the Broncos a seemingly match-winning lead at 26-18.
However, just as the Broncos looked like coasting to victory, the Roosters hit back with a try of their own after Roger Tuivasa-Sheck crossed out wide and Maloney converted to narrow the score to 26-24, setting up a nail-biting final four minutes.
The Chooks piled on the pressure with continuous attacking raids on Brisbane's line and soon the Broncos cracked. Mitchell Pearce sent Boyd Cordner through a hole in a tired defensive line to snatch an unlikely victory for the Roosters.
Brisbane regained possession from the kick-off and had one final flurry at the line, but the Chooks held strong to steal a 30-26 victory over the Broncos.
Sydney Roosters 30 (Michael Jennings, Sam Moa, Shaun Kenny-Dowall, Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, Boyd Cordner tries; James Maloney 5 goals) def. Brisbane Broncos 26 (Ben Hunt 2, Sam Thaiday, Lachlan Maranta, Jack Reed tries; Corey Parker 3 goals) at Suncorp Stadium. Half-time: 12-12 Crowd: 33,381.