The Brisbane Broncos must pull out all the stops over the next few weeks after they were knocked out of the top eight on Monday night going down 30 – 34 to the Sydney Roosters at Suncorp Stadium in front of 28,485 fans.
Despite a brave second half comeback, the Broncos just didn’t have enough in the tank to defeat a gallant Roosters outfit owing their victory to brilliant centre Shaun Kenny-Dowall and his four tries, who were playing in Brisbane for the first time in five years.
It was a disappointing result for the Broncos after they previously beat the Titans 24 – 10 in Round 19, but they still have a chance to reignite their finals dreams and make the playoffs.
Now out of the top eight, Brisbane still have a chance to reward fans that bet on them to ‘Make the Top 8’ at SportsBet if they win this week
The victory saw Sydney, who were very inconsistent earlier in the season, win their fourth on the trot earning them a spot in the top three.
It was an especially impressive win by the Chooks who had to make last minute changes to their squad following the withdrawal of injured stars Mitchell Pearce and Nate Myles.
The Broncos got off to a good start when hooker Andrew McCullough scored the first try of the game in the third minute after a deft dummy half run, and a successful conversion by Corey Parker saw the home side hold an early six point lead.
But Brisbane were soon in trouble after the Roosters scored three tries in 10 minutes to snare a huge lead.
Todd Carney, on fire over the past month and filling in as halfback for the night, opened the Chooks’ account in the 15th minute and then Shaun Kenny-Dowall got over twice in five minutes with two fast four-pointers in the 20th and 25th minutes.
Carney converted all three with pin-point accuracy and the Roosters went to the break leading 16 – 6.
It was payday for punters with money on the Chooks to lead at half time in the SportsBet markets
In the second half it was more of the same excellent form for Sydney who extended their lead to an emphatic 22 points within 10 minutes.
First Joseph Leliua got over in the 44th and then Kenny-Dowall made it a hat trick in the 50th minute after a 75 metre dash. Two more classy kicks from Carney had them feeling very confident in front 28 – 6.
In a brave finish from the Broncos, the home team had their fans cheering with everything they had, Brisbane fighting back to score four quick tries of their own as the tri colours dropped off in defence.
Matt Gillett started their late surge in the 54th minute, followed by the flying Israel Folau who scored in 60th minute. Five minutes later the in-form winger Antonio Winterstein was over, before prop Nick Kenny scored a controversial try with 10 minutes left on the clock.
Parker, one of the best goalkickers in the competition, made it five from five with another three conversions and Brisbane looked to have made the comeback of the season leading 30 – 28.
But in a nail-biting finish Kenny-Dowal topped off a record evening, scoring his fourth match try in the 74th minute after some great work from Carney and Minichiello, converted by Carney so the Roosters finished in front by four.
In more bad news for Brisbane, star utility Ben Te’o could be out for six weeks after breaking his foot and Winterstein injured his knee.
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