Broncos hammer hapless Bulldogs
A devastating seven-minute period midway through the second half has seen Brisbane move into second position on the Telstra Premiership ladder and cast further doubt on Canterbury's finals aspirations with a 42-12 win at Suncorp Stadium on Thursday night.
Two tries in the final four minutes of the first half gave Brisbane a 16-6 advantage but the key period was between the 53rd and 68th minutes when the Bulldogs' only touch of the football was Josh Reynolds spilling an Anthony Milford kick from point-blank range as the Broncos piled on 18 points to take complete control of the contest.
The Bulldogs bravely defended their line for the first 10 minutes of the second half and conceded just the one penalty goal but consecutive penalties against Canterbury players for interfering with Brisbane players chasing kicks gave Brisbane all the ammunition they needed to put them to the sword.
Broncos captain Adam Blair was sin-binned 10 minutes from full-time for a professional foul and the Bulldogs scored their second through Chase Stanley immediately after but by that stage the damage had been done and Canterbury's finals aspirations put on life support.
With a 10-point buffer at the break the Broncos should have gone further in front in the first five minutes of the second half when Tautau Moga ignored support on the inside and out but after three repeat sets chose to take a shot at penalty goal in the 49th minute to take their lead out by two more points.
A rare penalty for blocking a runner on the kick-chase against Brett Morris gave Brisbane another shot from close range but after a wicked bounce and some exquisite hands by Kodi Nikorima, Jonus Pearson lost his grip on the one-handed put-down, only for Josh Reynolds to also be penalised for interfering with the chasers.
A fumble by Reynolds gave Brisbane yet another attacking set and the speed of Nikorima proved too much for Raymond Faitala-Mariner from the scrum win as Brisbane's possession for the first 20 minutes of the second half pushed beyond 70 per cent.
With the resolve of the Bulldogs broken and the fatigue factor of making 68 more tackles setting in Brisbane earned a penalty from the kick-off and scored again at the end of the set through Josh McGuire and when James Roberts flashed across in the 65th minute it was time to put the 'Dogs out of their misery.
Showing a propensity to promote the football that hasn't been evident all season the Bulldogs stretched the Broncos defence for much of the first 40 minutes yet went into the break down by 10 points as the home side struck twice late to devastating effect.
Wearing eye-catching fluorescent socks to mark Women in League Round the Bulldogs' first attacking set was an unimaginative affair rescued by Josh Jackson pinning Broncos winger Jonus Pearson in his own in-goal to earn a repeat set but there was better to come.
From the next set Canterbury allowed the ball to sing a more flamboyant tune, pulling the home side first to the left before going back wide to the right, quick hands giving Marcelo Montoya a clear path to the line for his seventh try of the season.
Two penalties and a restarted tackle count gave Brisbane plenty of shots at the Bulldogs line but back-rower Matt Gillett couldn't maintain control as he reached out to put the ball over the try-line.
With the 'Dogs dominant in the opening quarter it took a line-break from an unlikely source to break the Bronco shackles, hooker Andrew McCullough bursting out of his own half on a 30-metre run before sending centre Tautau Moga away on a 45-metre path to score to the left of the posts, Jordan Kahu's conversion squaring the ledger through 24 minutes.
Invited into Canterbury's end by a Bulldogs error and subsequent penalty, Brisbane inched their way in front for the first time in the night when an offload from Joe Ofahengaue gave Ben Hunt enough room to slide past opposite Matt Frawley to score wide on the right.
Hunt became provider shortly thereafter when a mid-field offload again encouraged some second-phase play, the movement ending with some clever interplay between Kodi Nikorima, Matt Gillett and Anthony Milford before Kahu crossed in the corner.
Brisbane Broncos 42 (James Roberts 2, Tautau Moga, Ben Hunt, Jordan Kahu, Kodi Nikorima, Josh McGuire tries; Kahu 7 goals) def. Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 12 (Marcelo Montoya, Chase Stanley tries; Chase Stanley 2 goals) at Suncorp Stadium. Crowd: 24,267.
NRL.com unofficial votes: 3 points: Andrew McCullough. 2 points: Kodi Nikorima. 1 point: Matt Gillett.