Broncos bounce back to beat Raiders
The Brisbane Broncos have delivered the Canberra Raiders a reality check after running out 26-18 winners on Thursday night at Suncorp Stadium.
The result snapped a three-game losing streak for the Broncos and in the process broke Canberra's three-game winning streak.
Brisbane shot out to a 24-point lead and although the Raiders made a late comeback to add respectability to the scoreboard, the game was always the Broncos' to be won.
Prop Josh McGuire was instrumental in the win, running for 216 metres off 25 runs in a dominant performance against a big Raiders pack.
Darius Boyd crossed for the second hat-trick of his career and reinforced his billing as the best fullback in the game.
The first 20 minutes of the match were a tight tussle and it appeared both teams had come to play with a top four spot on the line.
However, the floodgates opened late in the half as the Broncos jumped to an 18-0 lead.
Brisbane lost second-row forward Alex Glenn to a left shoulder injury at the half-time break but it didn't stop their momentum.
Boyd crossed for his third try of the match just four minutes into the second half and Brisbane appeared to be running away with it. Corey Parker converted from near the left sideline and the Broncos jumped to a 24-0 lead after 45 minutes.
But it wasn't all positives for Brisbane, with the side losing Jordan Kahu in the 53rd minute to a pectoral injury.
Former Bronco Kurt Baptiste scored the Raiders' first points in the 59th minute, darting from dummy-half to beat Brisbane winger Corey Oates and score next to the right sideline. Jarrod Croker converted from the touchline to make the score 24-6 with 20 minutes to go.
Canberra continued to make a comeback late in the match, with an Aidan Sezer cross-field kick under extreme pressure falling into the hands of five-eighth Blake Austin who crossed for a try under the posts. Croker made no mistake with the conversion attempt and the Raiders trailed 24-12 with 13 minutes to go.
However, Brisbane iced the game in the 76th minute when McGuire earned his side a penalty right next to the posts. Parker took the easy two points on offer and gave the Broncos a 26-12 lead.
Baptiste scored his second try of the night in the 76th minute and Croker converted quickly to make the score 26-18 but that was as close as Canberra got to a miracle comeback.
Earlier, it was a great first half from the Broncos that ultimately sealed the two competition points.
It took until the 25th minute for the scoring to open when Adam Blair found Parker with a beautiful short ball that put the Brisbane captain over for a try. Parker converted his own try from the left of the posts to give the Broncos a 6-0 lead.
Brisbane added a second try to their tally in the 30th minute when fullback Boyd stepped Sezer and muscled his way over the line. Parker converted from near the right touchline to extend the Broncos' lead to 12.
Just four minutes later, Boyd beat Sezer for a second time and crossed for a four-pointer in an almost identical position to his first. Parker made no mistake with the conversion and Brisbane quickly skipped to an 18-0 lead.
It was a first half of mistakes for Canberra, with the Raiders looking a shadow of the side that had won three in a row.
This ultimately cost the Raiders the game and Ricky Stuart's men will be ruing their start to the match.
Brisbane Broncos 26 (Boyd 3, Parker tries; Parker 5 goals) def. Canberra Raiders 18 (Baptiste 2, Austin tries; Croker 3 goals). Crowd 25,021.