Broncos second-half blitz stuns Dragons in big NRL win

Joel Gould |

Brisbane skipper Adam Reynolds has turned on a masterclass to orchestrate a stunning 40-18 comeback win over St George Illawarra and set up a blockbuster ‘Battle for Brisbane’ showdown with the Dolphins.

Reynolds created tries for Kotoni Staggs in both halves with slick grubberkicks and landed a two-point field goal on the cusp of halftime after the Broncos trailed 16-6 at Suncorp Stadium in front of 26,612 fans.

The masterful half sealed the deal when his sleight of hand fooled the Dragons defence in the 70th minute for winger Selwyn Cobbo to score.

Fullback Reece Walsh scored a late double and No.6 Ezra Mam crossed for a corker as the home side scored four tries in the last 10 minutes.

It was Reynolds’ field-goal just before the break that gave Brisbane belief.

“He did that to us in a Souths jumper a few years ago and I wanted to ring his neck then,” Broncos coach Kevin Walters said.

“We’d like to think Adam brings so much to our team as captain. 

“He knows when to kick the ball. When our forwards support him, he is very good at what he does. We’re glad to have him in Maroon.”

Brisbane had celebrated the feats of the 1993 and 1998 premiership-winning sides during the week and many of those players were in the stands to watch the current crop show the resilience and class that those teams were known for.

Four-time Broncos premiership winner and current Queensland Reds coach Brad Thorn was one legend who sat with Walters in the coach’s box.

“Brad gave his all for the club. He is a winner. He’s a good coach and we are learning off each other,” Walters said.

Prop Pat Carrigan played after having emergency dental surgery during the week and partnered with outstanding prop Payne Haas to bring the hosts home the stronger.

The undefeated Broncos and Dolphins will meet next Friday night at the same venue in what promises to be a clash for the ages.

The performances of Dragons fullback Tyrell Sloan and five-eighth Jayden Sullivan were strong and will give the Red V the belief they have the young spine members to partner skipper Ben Hunt and challenge for the top eight.

The Dragons had more energy, were better disciplined and more aggressive up front in the opening stanza to take a 16-8 lead at halftime.

In particular, bench forwards Josh Kerr, Zane Musgrove and Michael Molo were in powerhouse mode and swamped the Broncos.

In contrast Brisbane were listless, disorganised and error-ridden.

After Dragons winger Mathew Feagai dived over for the opening try, Dragons back-rower Jaydn Su’A unfurled a silky short ball for fullback Sloan to speed onto and score. 

Sullivan then tore past his opposite number Mam and the visitors had shot out to a 16-6 lead.

Broncos hooker Cory Paix went over after the break and the hosts never looked back after that on their way to six unanswered tries in the second half as the Dragons fell away.

“For 70 minutes, we struggled and scrapped,” Dragons coach Anthony Griffin said.

“I was impressed with our resolve. We just lost our way.”

Brisbane prop Haas was put on report for a high shot on Dragons prop Michael Molo.