Broncos v Roosters: Five key points
Parker's farewell not exactly to plan, Broncos await their finals fate, bright spots in Roosters' horror season and the weird and wonderful from James Roberts.
Parker's farewell not exactly to plan
Broncos warhorse Corey Parker will get a second chance at a final farewell from Suncorp Stadium during the finals series and he will hope his team can deliver a much more composed performance or it will be his last in the NRL. While the planned standing ovation from Broncos fans in the 13th minute fell flat – possibly due to the Suncorp Stadium clock counting down from 40 each half – Parker's first charge was met by a rousing reception from the crowd but when he came back onto the field in the second half all he got was a smack across the nose from Roosters half Mitchell Pearce. His successful conversion of Jordan Kahu's second try five minutes from full-time put the game beyond doubt and took his career points tally to 1328, also keeping open the possibility of a fairytale farewell.
Broncos set the mark now await their fate
Thursday night's 24-14 win over the Roosters has given those with aspirations of finishing in the top four the mark they need to chase in order to earn two chances in the Telstra Premiership finals series. Now on 34 competition points, only a Bulldogs flogging of South Sydney on Friday night or a Cowboys win over the Titans on Saturday can relegate them down the ladder into the bottom half of the eight. They are guaranteed at least one home game in the finals series, we just have to sit back and wait to see when that might be.
Dramatic momentum swing changes everything
For 33 minutes the Roosters completely dominated the contest. They had more than two-thirds of possession and set up camp inside the Broncos' half as they got out to a 14-0 lead but one poor option on the last tackle allowed Brisbane to turn the game on its head. A rushed kick by former Bronco Dale Copley gave Corey Oates the opportunity to break down-field and from the next play Anthony Milford crossed. Six tackles later they were in again courtesy of a horrible Daniel Tupou error and the fleet feet of James Roberts and in the veritable blink of an eye it was a two-point ball game. The Roosters started the second half without the services of Latrell Mitchell and Dale Copley and a Broncos team that was inept in the first half took every advantage. Milford levelled, Kahu crossed out wide to take the lead in the 56th minute and the horrors of the first half were quickly erased.
Unfortunate end to Mitchell's rookie year to remember
Along with Wests Tiger Josh Aloiai Latrell Mitchell is the only member of the 2016 rookie class to play in every game this season but unfortunately the talented 19-year-old couldn't get through all of game No.24. He had little involvement in the opening exchanges and then 20 minutes in suffered a knock to the hip which forced him from the field. He tried to hobble back into the line but eventually had to be taken back to the sheds by the medicab, unable to walk from one side of the field to the other. He got back onto the field midway through the second half and was fittingly able to finish the season he started way back in Round 1. Mitchell is one of a host of rookie Roosters to have made promising starts to their NRL careers this season. Nat Butcher made his debut off the bench against the Broncos as Joseph Manu got his third game of the season while Ryan Matterson and Connor Watson have each played more than a dozen games. In a season where they will finish only ahead of wooden-spooners Newcastle, they represent the few bright spots for Roosters supporters with the off-season now awaiting them.
Weird and wonderful from James Roberts
He scored a try, had try assists for the two tries to Jordan Kahu and caused the Roosters headaches out wide all night but you still walked away shaking your head at some of the antics of James Roberts. His decision not to pass inside late in the first half left teammate Matt Gillett and eighth Immortal Andrew Johns equally exasperated as he clumsily kicked at the ball rather than simply passing, but then with the game in the balance expertly nudged the ball back inside for Kahu's second. You never quite know what you're going to get with James Roberts, and perhaps that is half the fun.