Benji stars as Broncos down Raiders
Benji Marshall wound back the clock to help inspire the Brisbane Broncos to a 30-20 win over the Canberra Raiders at GIO Stadium.
Without starters Darius Boyd, Anthony Milford and Korbin Sims, Brisbane were in need of some brilliance from their senior players and Marshall provided just that.
Two try assists to Marshall set the platform for the Broncos and when halfback Ben Hunt chimed in for two assists of his own in the second half, the game was all but over.
But Brisbane trailed at half-time after a spirited first half from the Raiders put them in control 16-14.
The Broncos needed to score first after the break and they did just that, with Hunt putting second-row forward Matt Gillett over in the 50th minute. Kahu failed to convert and the score stayed at 18-16 in his side's favour.
Brisbane extended their lead in the 58th minute when prop Joe Ofahengaue crashed over from close range. Jordan Kahu put the conversion over the black dot to give the Broncos all the momentum heading into the last quarter of the match.
But Canberra hit back, with Joseph Leilua forcing his way over in the corner to set up an exciting final 10 minutes of play. Jarrod Croker missed the conversion to the right to make it 24-20 in Brisbane's favour.
It was anyone's game to win and the Broncos wanted it more.
Gillett grabbed his second try of the night as the full-time siren sounded, with the Queensland Maroon putting the icing on the cake in what was a great win for Brisbane.
The match started with a promising first half for Canberra, with the Raiders coming close to opening the scoring in the fourth minute. However, Blake Austin was adjudged to have thrown the ball forward to Jordan Rapana before the NRL's leading try-scorer crossed the line.
The Broncos made them pay almost immediately courtesy of a beautiful no-look pass from Marshall that found Corey Oates close to the line. The 22-year-old barged his way the line and Kahu converted to make it 6-0 in the eighth minute.
The Raiders levelled the scores in the 11th minute, with Austin handing off to Jack Wighton who stepped his way over the line for a try.
Canberra scored their second in as many minutes when Josh Papalii burst through Brisbane's defence to find Croker. The centre planted the ball then kicked truly from the sideline to give his side a 12-6 lead.
Marshall had his hand in another try in the 23rd minute, with the New Zealand international finding his fellow countryman Alex Glenn through a hole close to the line.
The Raiders then seized the momentum in the 34th minute when young Cotric intercepted a Hunt pass to run 90 metres and score in the corner. Croker could not add the extras, but the Green Machine still led by four points with the half-time break in sight.
Brisbane cut the margin to two after the half-time hooter had sounded, with Kahu slotting a simple penalty goal.
It gave the Broncos the momentum to go on with it and seal a vital two points during the State of Origin period.
Brisbane Broncos 30 (Gillett 2, Oates, Glenn, Ofahengaue tries; Kahu 5 goals) defeated Canberra Raiders 20 (Wighton, Croker, Cotric, Leilua tries; Croker 2 goals). Crowd: 15,652. Holden Cup: Brisbane Broncos 34 defeated Canberra Raiders 20.
NRL.com unofficial votes: 3 points: Benji Marshall. 2 points: Ben Hunt. 1 point: Matt Gillett.