Broncos grind out Dragons in wet
The Brisbane Broncos have earned a much-needed 12-8 win over the St George Illawarra Dragons, leaving the Red V's finals hopes hanging by a thread.
While the weather had the ultimate say when it came to play execution, an amazing return from a shoulder injury by Matt Gillett helped shore up his side's mistakes from weeks past.
The win injected fresh hope into the Broncos' fleeting top four hopes while leaving the Dragons languishing at 12th on the NRL Telstra Premiership ladder.
The Dragons' fifth-straight loss wasn't helped by off-contract halfback Benji Marshall's horror show performance.
While he set up the Dragons' only try in the final four minutes, the veteran playmaker also came up with five errors.
Anthony Milford went close to scoring within the first four minutes from a Broncos grubber but was held back by Jake Marketo. It allowed skipper Corey Parker to kick his side ahead 2-0.
Dragons skipper Gareth Widdop levelled the scores 10 minutes later in what proved to be his side's only points in the first half.
The game's first try was scored in the 23rd minute when a handy kick through by Milford came up trumps for a chasing Sam Thaiday.
The wild Wollongong weather dampened the remainder of the first half with the Broncos up 8-2 at the break.
Kurt Mann looked to have the Red V's first try in the 52nd minute when he almost produced a spectacular catch following a Widdop grubber, though the bunker eventually revealed he had dropped it.
The Broncos extended their lead to 10 midway through the second half when handy lead-up work from Darius Boyd saw winger Lachlan Maranta cross wide in the corner.
The Dragons scored their first and only try in the 76th minute when a bomb back inside from Marshall was caught by Widdop just left of the uprights.
But Marshall would be caught on the last tackle of the Dragons' next set.
An error from Brisbane hooker Andrew McCullough in the final 30 seconds offered the Red V one final opportunity but an error from Taane Milne from the scrum killed off a last ditch Dragons victory.
Brisbane Broncos 12 (Sam Thaiday, Lachlan Maranta tries; Corey Parker 2 goals) defeated St George Illawarra Dragons 8 (Gareth Widdop try; Gareth Widdop 2 goals) at WIN Stadium. Crowd: 5662. Half-time: Broncos 8-2.