The Broncos overcame the loss of captain Adam Reynolds, star prop Payne Haas and English centre Herbie Farnworth to hold out the Raiders in one of the bravest wins in the club's history.
Haas left the field in the 28th minute with a shoulder injury and Reynolds (ribs) and Farnworth (bicep) joined him on the sideline midway through the second half in a night of carnage for Brisbane.
Despite already being without NSW centre Kotoni Staggs (shoulder) and Queensland pair Selwyn Cobbo and Kurt Capewell, who were rested, the Broncos bravely hung on to a six point lead for the final 25 minutes to triumph 24-18.
The win was Brisbane's seventh in row and they now have the chance to join the Storm in second place by winning in Melbourne next Friday night.
For the Raiders, it was a disappointing result but there was a lot to admire about their performance, with Kiwis forward Joseph Tapine carrying the ball for 240 metres as he led the way up front.
Speedster Xavier Savage continually threatened the Broncos defence and produced two line-breaks but with Brisbane's forwards out on their feet due to the injuries the Raiders failed to capitalise.
Match: Broncos v Raiders
Round 14 -
Venue: Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
- Rookie Broncos playmaker Ezra Mam repaid the faith of Kevin Walters to partner him with Adam Reynolds at the scrumbase when he stepped his way over to score from close range in just the seventh minute.
- The Raiders responded soon after through former NSW back Nick Cotric, who outleapt Brenko Lee to snatch a Jamal Fogarty kick and score in the 19th minute.
Cotric leaps high and helps level the scores
- Lee made amends just four minutes later after fending off Cotric before putting former Dragons winger Jordan Pereira scored his first try in a Broncos jersey.
Broncos debutant Pereira gets his side in front
- The Raiders again hit back almost immediately when prop Corey Horsburgh swivelled his way over the tryline in the 27th minute and Fogarty's conversion put the Green Machine ahead 12-10.
- Yet the lead would change hands again twice before halftime as the teams continued to trade tries in a gripping encounter, with English centre Herbie Farnworth finishing a virtual length of the field try.
- However, it was still the Raiders who went to the sheds in front 18-16 after Cotric offloaded to Hudson Young, who linked with Zac Woolford and Josh Papali'i put Adam Elliott over in the 40th minute.
Elliot gets over after Raiders run riot
- Farnworth regained the lead for the Broncos after Mam put him over for his second try just three minutes into the second half but the home team then had to hang on for the last 20 minutes with just one player on the bench.
Farnworth puts the Broncos in front
- Reynolds kicked a 55th minute penalty goal to give the Broncos a six point buffer but it was obvious he was in pain and the captain left the field soon after, with Farnworth following in the 61st minute.
Reynolds has left the field injured
Play of the game
The Raiders appeared to be getting on top when Farnworth finished a near length of the field movement shortly before halftime that started with Reynolds and Mam combining before fullback Te Maire Martin raced into the clear.
Yet to lose a game since he made his comeback earlier this season, Martin linked with Farnworth and the Englishman carried Xavier Savage and James Schiller over the tryline.
Broncos stampede as Farnworth scores
What they said
"Even in my time playing and when I was on the staff here I can't remember a team that has had so many injuries, and not just bumps and bruises but actual game ending injuries and possibly weeks, months on the sideline. There are a whole host of guys who are really busted and Canberra played a tough game tonight. They were very physical and we are wearing the consequences of that now. We’ll be doing whatever we can to get them on the field but there’s going to be four, five or six missing," Broncos coach Kevin Walters.
Broncos: Round 14
"We probably didn't play with a little bit of luck tonight, a couple of things just didn't come off for us. That was a good win for Kev, a couple of players out and a couple of key players injured during the game and had to go off. It would have been the exactly the same for us, it would have been a great win for us if a couple of things went the other way. They did a good job to hang in there and keep us away. Kevin is building a really good squad here now and he is showing that culture comes before strategy. That's why I love coaching my blokes, we have got a wonderful camaraderie and culture and give Kev a bit of time he is going to have the same. I can see that in them," Raiders coach Ricky Stuart.
Raiders: Round 14
The Broncos travel to Melbourne to take on the Storm next Friday night, while the Raiders host the Knights in Canberra on Sunday.
Brisbane coach Kevin Walters will be sweating on the fitness of captain Adam Reynolds and prop Payne Haas, who was forced from the field in the 28th minute after suffering a shoulder injury and did not return.
Reynolds suffer a rib injury midway through the second half and was wincing in pain as picked up the kicking tee after landing a 55th minute penalty goal before coming off soon after.
Farnworth followed a few minutes later after injuring his bicep.
Walters will welcome back Selwyn Cobbo and Kurt Capewell after they were rested following Wednesday night's Origin win with Queensland.
NSW centre Kotoni Staggs may also be available after the shoulder injury which forced him from the field in the Origin opener was diagnosed as a cork and he hopes to push his case to retain his Blues jersey for the next match in Perth.
Raiders coach Ricky Stuart will welcome back Kiwis international Jordan Rapana after he was suspended for dangerous contact in last week's defeat of the Roosters.