A controversial penalty goal late in the match has seen the Brisbane Broncos emerge with a 16-14 victory over Wests Tigers in their Round 11 clash.
Luke Brooks again starred for the hosts — scoring a try and setting up one himself — but he just couldn’t manage to get Wests Tigers over the line in a match remembered more for tenacious tackling and handling errors than any attacking play.
It was Brisbane who posted first points of the match through second-rower Corey Oates, who ran on to a flat ball from Ben Hunt in the sixth minute.
It was close to forward, but not called as such by the officials, and the try was duly converted by the halfback from under the posts for an early 6-0 lead.
Pat Richards threatened to level the match in the 26th minute when he ran 70m and carried Ben Barba into the right corner, but his inside pass to David Nofoaluma saw the winger taken into touch just before the side-line.
That would be the only real attacking chance to come from the half, as errors from both teams saw points go begging at either end of the field.
Incredibly, the score would remain just 6-0 to the visitors at the break.
Wests Tigers would start the second half in inspired fashion and would soon post the first points after a moment of magic from halfback Luke Brooks.
The youngster kicked through off a rebound before kicking twice more for himself — just beating the ball to the dead-ball line and somehow managing to plant it down despite the attention of the Broncos’ defence soming across in cover.
Pat Richards converted the try to lock the scores up at 6-6 after 43 minutes.
The scoreline was short-lived, though, with a penalty goal to Hunt in the 46th minute restoring the visitors to the lead by a score of 8-6.
Brooks soon played the hosts back in front, though, with his well-weighted grubber allowing Bodene Thompson to snaffle up the ball and wrestle his way over the line despite the best efforts of Broncos fullback Ben Barba.
Richards added the extras to give Wests Tigers their first lead of the match in the 60th minute, with the scoreboard reading 12-8.
Oates got the visitors back in front in the 64th minute after a Hunt cross-field kick was brought down by Lachlan Maranta, who got the ball away back on the inside for Oates to grab his second try of the evening.
Hunt converted to push the visitors back in front, 14-12.
A penalty in the play the ball gave Richards the chance to level the match in the 67th minute, and he made no mistake under pressure from 43m out.
That locked the scores up at 14-all with just over 10 minutes to play.
Brooks fell into an accidental knee from Andrew McCullough in the 69th minute — forcing the halfback to come from the field under NRL’s concussion rule.
However, he passed the test, and was soon back out on the field in the 73rd minute — much to the delight of the pro-Wests Tigers crowd.
Brisbane took the lead through a controversial penalty goal in the 76th minute after Maranta was ruled to have been taken out despite the ball appearing to have been knocked-on beforehand by another Broncos player.
That gave Hunt the chance to add the two points, and he duly did.
Wests Tigers had one frantic attempt to win the game on the visitors’ line with the final play of the match, but Brooks’ inside pass fell to ground and the Broncos scooped it up to emerge with a gritty 16-14 win on the night.
Final: Brisbane Broncos 16 def. Wests Tigers 14