The Broncos produced a powerful second half to beat a brave Bulldogs outfit 34-14 at Suncorp Stadium on Friday night.
After trailing 14-6 with 25 minutes to play the Broncos piled on five tries in 21 minutes to overpower a Canterbury side which showed plenty of fight at the end of a horror week.
A scare for the home side early with forward leader Payne Haas forced from the field with a shoulder problem in the eighth minute but he was able to return midway through the half after treatment and went on to play a starring role.
The Bulldogs were first to score when centre Aaron Schoupp showed his strength and skill to hold off a defender and deliver a perfect pass to Josh Addo-Carr to cross in the 18th minute.
Come the 30th minute and Addo-Carr had a double, burning Selwyn Cobbo on the outside after good lead-up work by Kyle Flanagan and Matt Burton.
Oates coming in like a wrecking ball
The Broncos hit back in the 35th minute when Corey Oates steamed onto an Adam Reynolds pass from close range and the home side went to the break trailing 10-6.
Tevita Pangai jnr then produced two huge plays in the space of three minutes to help the Bulldogs extend the lead - first taking a slips catch to defuse a Tyson Gamble kick to get his team out of trouble and then delivering a perfect offload for Matt Dufty to score.
The Broncos were next to score when Cory Paix burrowed over from dummy half and Reynolds' conversion made it 14-12.
Dufty on the end of some TPJ brilliance
Reynolds then stamped his class on the game with a chip kick over the top which Jordan Riki regathered before passing back inside for his skipper to race away and score and the Broncos had the lead for the first time.
Cobbo then got his name on the tryscorers list courtesy of a Reynolds pass and the Broncos had turned an eight-point deficit into an eight-point lead in the space of 11 minutes.
Reynolds was at it again in the 74th minute, laying on another try for Cobbo with a deft grubber which the winger did brilliantly to ground.
Cobbo then turned provider with an infield kick for Rhys Kennedy to score and the home side were out to 34-14.
The win takes Brisbane's record to 3-4 for the season and gives them a shot of confidence heading into a round eight showdown with the red hot Sharks.
The Bulldogs have just one win to their credit but could take plenty of heart out the performances of debutants Jacob Kiraz and Billy Tsikrikas.
"Really really happy for them. At a time when we really needed it they both stood up," Bulldogs coach Trent Barrett said post-match.
Match: Broncos v Bulldogs
Round 7 -
Venue: Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
- The Broncos have used four different halves combinations across the opening seven rounds with Tyson Gamble and Adam Reynolds the latest pairing after Billy Walters/Albert Kelly in round 1, Kelly/Reynolds round 2-4 and Walters/Reynolds round 5-6.
- The Bulldogs were forced to make the first 36 tackles of the match after conceding a penalty, a six-again and a line dropout in the opening minutes but held firm.
- Bulldogs winger Josh Addo-Carr has scored 19 tries in 18 games at Suncorp Stadium.
- Jacob Kiraz enjoyed a superb debut at centre for the Bulldogs with 123 running metres and seven tackle breaks before leaving the field in the 54th minute with severe cramp. He returned to add another 10 metres to his tally to finish the night with 133.
- Despite being off the field for 12 minutes with a shoulder injury Payne Haas still had 22 hit-ups for 239 metres in another herculean performance.
- In his first game for three years, Broncos No.1 Te Maire Martin looked assured under the high ball and ran powerfully for 145 metres.
Plays of the Game
With his team staring down the barrel of a fifth defeat on the trot, Adam Reynolds took control of the game. In the 62nd minute the classy No.7 chipped over the top for Jordan Riki to regather and then took the return pass to score under the sticks. Five minutes later Reynolds had a third try assist for the night when he lobbed a pass over the top for young winger Selwyn Cobbo to stroll over in the corner.
Clutch Reynolds takes the lead
What They Said
"Adam's a cool head and when it's time to go and put the foot down he knows when to do that as well. Even right to the death they were trying to pick up more points which is good to see. That's the Broncos way and I'm sure it was the way at the club he used to play at [Souths] ... that's our way, too, to continue to try to push for points." - Broncos coach Kevin Walters
"We're still working out that you can't solve things on your own when things get hard. I think that's what some of us tried to do. Certainly not through lack of effort but you can't solve things on your own tight contests. We knew there'd be periods they needed to get through and tough it out and do it together but a couple of errors at crucial times, a couple of defensive reads at crucial times, trying to do things on our own and can't, and they made us pay for it." - Bulldogs coach Trent Barrett
NRL Press Conference: Broncos v Bulldogs - Round 7, 2022
The Broncos are at home again in front of the Suncorp Stadium faithful when they host the Sharks on Thursday night.
The Bulldogs will appreciate the eight-day break before taking on the Roosters at Accor Stadium on Saturday. Coach Trent Barrett will be hoping his contingent of COVID sufferers can make it back to the field after missing the trip to Brisbane.