Late drama as Broncos win NYC opener
Broncos fullback Corey Allan has scored an 80th minute length-of-the-field try to give his side a thrilling 40-38 win over the Sharks in the Holden Cup season opener.
In one of the most epic finishes you are likely to see, Allan capitalised on an unnecessary kick close to the line to give his side the perfect start to 2017.
While the respective coaches would have been left disappointed, fans were treated to some scintillating attacking footy in perfect conditions at Southern Cross Group Stadium.
Broncos halfback Gerome Burns had the honour of scoring the opening try of the season as he punished a Sharks error from a scrum to race 60 metres to score inside three minutes.
The lead didn't last long as Blayke Brailey produced a play reminiscent of his older brother to send Brock Ilett over next to the posts before Kyle Flanagan – the son of Sharks coach Shane Flanagan – delivered a perfectly-timed pass for Billy Magoulias to stroll over untouched.
Momentum was well and truly with the home side as Jesse Savage crashed over from another Brailey short ball to make it 18-6 after 18 minutes, and it should have been more but the dynamic No.9 couldn't control Flanagan's pass with the line open.
It would prove to be a costly miss as Broncos hooker Tristan Hope finished off some nice offloading to reach out, but Brailey wouldn't be outdone, scurrying over from dummy-half to push the lead out to 12 points.
The visitors would have the final say as Hope put interchange forward Payne Haas over with a flat ball before Burns finished off a breathtaking length-of-the-field break on the stroke of half-time to make it 24-all at the break.
The second stanza started much the same as the first with the Broncos punishing some lazy work at the back to hit the front through Keenan Palaasia, only for the hosts to hit back through experienced centre Jesse Ramien.
A sloppy restart put the Sharks straight back on the attack and they made the most of their good fortune with Ramien powering through to make it 32-30 after 57 minutes.
The see-sawing affair took another turn when Broncos centre Gehamat Shibasaki shrugged off several would-be defenders to force another lead change, only for Briton Nikora to slice through to put the Sharks back in front moments later.
The Sharks looked like holding on, but with less than 30 seconds to go, Flanagan tried an audacious grubber from one metre out which he spilled into the arms of Broncos fullback Corey Allan who put on the afterburners to go 99 metres to level the scores, with Burns's conversion enough to seal the 40-38 win.
Broncos 40 (Gerome Burns 2, Tristan Hope, Payne Haas, Keenan Palaasia, Gehamat Shibasaki, Corey Allan tries; Gerome Burns 6 goals) def. Sharks 38 (Jesse Ramien 2, Brock Ilett, Billy Magoulias, Jesse Savage, Blayke Brailey, Briton Nikora tries; Kyle Flanagan 5 goals) at Southern Cross Group Stadium. Half-time: 24-all.