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One for the road - Australian Rugby league News
globalrugbyleague - Sat, 13 Sep 2008 10:08:00 GMT
The Brisbane Broncos etched closer to winning Wayne Bennett his 7th premiership in the 2008 Finals series after overturning a 6-point half-time deficit to pluck the roosters 24-16 at Aussie Stadium.

However in the aftermath to a game that many felt was Rugby League’s equivalent of a WWF clash of the giants in terms of attitude and toughness, it seems what happened on the field didn’t stay there.

Drama continued in the change rooms when Roosters prop David Shillington described the Queensland victors as “dirty little grubs” who allegedly delivered a wonderful menu of cheap shots including elbows to the head and faces being held down.

Shillington remained adamant that he now hates playing Brisbane and is intent on extracting revenge if given another shot at them again this year. That’s highly unlikely though.

Despite appearing to be on the ropes at the break, back-to-back tries after the break accompanied by 16 unanswered points ultimately quelled the Roosters juggernaut.

Brisbane coach Wayne Bennett was pleased with his side’s ability to comeback late in the second half after seeing his men trampled by the Roosters big men.

“We had a couple knocked out and players taken of the ball left, right and centre but we just kind of grit our teeth at halftime,” Bennett said.

“We absorbed their punishment, wore them down and in the end we just took the game away from them.”

The game was played at a furious pace.

In the opening stanza, players traded shots hard enough to make the Television screens jolt, and traded penalty goals, with both sides level at 2-2 inside the opening 10 minutes.

Minutes later, Roosters winger Iosia Soliola put his side ahead with the first try of the match, gifted a four-pointer when he intercepted Darren Lockyer’s attempted cutout pass.

The home side grew in confidence and midway through the first half grabbed a second try, a lovely short pass from five-eighth Braith Anasta to a bullocking Anthony Topou extended the Roosters’ lead to 14-2.

But it was not all going to go all the home side’s way.

Just before the half time siren, Brisbane posted its first four pointer of the match with halfback Peter Wallace beating the challenge of three defenders to score.

Bennett must have blasted his Brisbane boys about being bullied by the Roosters big men, so after the break, instead of going through them, the Broncos went around them.

With some typical Brisbane razzle dazzle which almost bamboozled the Queenslanders themselves, the Broncos went from one side of the field to the other and confused the Roosters, with Denan Kemp finishing the move to put his Brisbane side within touching distance.

Growing in confidence, the Broncos put back-to-back second half tries together when David Stagg went over from close range.

Old mates combined together to put the match out of reach for the Roosters, with five-eighth Darren Lockyer’s short pass finding a rampaging Tonie Carroll to set up a 24-16 lead.

Some desperate Broncos defending late in the game stopped what looked like a certain Anasta try, but any efforts by the Bondi boys were too little too late.

After the game, Roosters playmaker Braith Anasta said it would be difficult to watch the other semi-finals in the knowledge that this game could be their last for 2008.

“It’s going to be nerve wracking for us, but with the season we’ve had and even the game tonight I think we’ve earned another shot at the semis,” Anasta said.

“We’ve finished fourth and put in a good performance tonight, I think we really deserve it so we’re just going to have to wait and if we do get another shot we’re a good chance of progressing in the competition.”

The Brisbane Broncos can now rest easy in the knowledge of another game in this year’s finals series, with, if results going there way, could see them with a home semi-final next week.

BRISBANE 24 (T Carroll, D Kemp, D Stagg, P Wallace tries; M Ennis 2, C Parker 2 goals) bt roosters 16 (I Soliola, A Tupou tries; C Fitzgibbon 4 goals) at Sydney Football Stadium. Referee: T Archer. Crowd:18,343 Penalties: roosters 6-all. GRL Game rating: 7 balls out of ten. - Read More, Here