Broncos beat luckless Bulldogs courtesy of controversial penalty
A controversial last-minute penalty goal to Jamayne Isaako has given Brisbane a remarkable 22-20 win over a hapless Canterbury at Suncorp Stadium just when the arm wrestle clash seemed destined for golden point.
With five minutes remaining the Bulldogs led 20-14 before a James Roberts pass found a hard-charging Joe Ofahengaue who scored under the posts.
With time almost up, Roberts then put up a bomb and Darius Boyd was ruled to have been pushed in the back by Moses Mbye as he dived for the loose ball. Mbye was sin-binned and Isaako slammed the penalty through the sticks with one second remaining.
It was also a night where young Broncos forwards Matt Lodge, Tevita Pangai Jnr, Ofahengaue and Jaydn Su'A all stood tall.
Bulldogs coach Dean Pay had rung the changes and they all seemed to be working a treat as the Broncos fumbled and stumbled their way through the 80 minutes.
Boyd and Jack Bird gifted the Bulldogs tries in a match where the shoulder of prop David Klemmer reduced the involvement of 18-year-old Broncos rookie Payne Haas to just six minutes due to concussion.
Pay rearranged the deck chairs after seven losses from nine games in the Telstra Premiership and those changes were on track to becoming a masterstroke.
Match: Broncos vs Bulldogs
Venue: Suncorp Stadium
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PNG international Rhyse Martin scored with his first touch and then Kieran Foran turned provider on the cusp of half-time after a chip kick was muffed by Boyd.
Marcelo Montoya swooped and recalled five-eighth Matt Frawley was on hand to score.
Klemmer came off the bench in his 100th NRL game for the Bulldogs after 20 minutes and played like a man possessed as the Bulldogs took a 14-6 lead into the break
Brisbane scored early in the second half when Anthony Milford held up a pass for Alex Glenn to run a slick line and burst through to score.
When Bird also slipped in the second half for Kerrod Holland to scoop up a Will Hopoate kick, the Bulldogs led 20-14 and appeared on track for a famous victory.
The Broncos won ugly against Wests Tigers earlier in the season at Campbelltown Stadium and did so again in a performance which said more about their resolve than anything else.
Brisbane had been working towards getting Boyd more involved in a playmaking role to give the attack a variety of options outside starting halves Milford and Bird.
Boyd's work down the left side as a ball distributor is second to none and it bore fruit in the 17th minute when he went into first receiver and found Corey Oates on the left wing who strolled over.
It was classy but the Broncos will need more of that on a regular basis if they are to challenge for the premiership in 2018.
News & Notes: Bulldogs second-rower Rhyse Martin scored a try with his first touch in his NRL debut... Bulldogs prop David Klemmer played his 100th NRL game ... Crowd: 22,225 ... Broncos teenage prop Payne Haas left field in 56th minute with concussion and did not return ... Next week: Brisbane Broncos away to Manly Sea Eagles on Saturday at 7.35pm, Canterbury Bulldogs at home to Parramatta Eels on Friday at 7.55pm.