The first ever golden point match in NRLW history saw Rachael Pearson kick the Dragons to a 19-18 victory over the Broncos which booked St George Illawarra's place in the 2022 finals.
A dramatic final 15 minutes saw Broncos prop Chelsea Lenarduzzi sent to the sin bin and the Dragons lead by as much as 18-8, before the three-time Premiers powered back with with tries to Jaime Chapman and Ali Brigginshaw, and a final-minute conversion from Tarryn Aiken, to force golden point.
Brigginshaw then had a chance to win it in normal time but pushed her field goal wide on the last play of the game.
But Pearson made no such mistake when given her chance minutes later, nailing the field goal after skipper Kezie Apps had helped put her side in good field position with a spirited carry down field.
Lenarduzzi sent to the bin
For the Broncos, their third loss in four games this season leaves them tied on competition points with the fifth-placed Titans heading into the final round of the regular season, with a loss against the Eels next Sunday potentially seeing them miss the finals for the first time.
Dodd wheeling and dealing
Inside the opening five minutes Brisbane lost hooker Lavinia Gould to a game-ending leg injury and had Chapman leave the field for a HIA which she passed, but were still first to score.
Two tries in the space of three minutes at the end of the first stanza gave the Dragons a 12-4 lead at the break, before both sides traded blows in the second half.
Apps opens them up
After the Dragons successfully challenged the on-field decision that they had knocked on with their first use of the ball in golden point, the ensuing penalty and big carry from Apps put Pearson in position to win it.
In addition to it being the first golden point match in the NRLW, it was also the first time the Dragons have beaten the Broncos in the competition.
Match: Broncos v Dragons
Round 4 -
Venue: AAMI Park, Melbourne
- Rachael Pearson kicked the Dragons to a 19-18 victory in golden point.
- It was the first golden point match in NRLW history and first time the Dragons have beaten the Broncos in the NRLW.
- Julia Robinson opened the scoring with her third try of 2022 just six minutes into the game when Brisbane stripped the Dragons for numbers on the edge.
- After a 23-minute break in the scoring, the Dragons then struck twice in the space of three minutes.
- Kezie Apps powered her way over before Quincy Dodd sold the Broncos' defence with a dummy and crossed, with Pearson converting both for a 12-4 half-time lead.
- Shenae Ciesiolka's brilliant individual effort on 45 minutes reduced her side's deficit to four.
- Chelsea Lenarduzzi was sent to the sin bin in the 55th minute for a high tackle, with the Brisbane prop also placed on report for the incident.
- Elsie Albert's try and Pearson's conversion on the next set after the sin bin appeared to have given the Dragons the win, before the Broncos came back with tries to Jaime Chapman and Ali Brigginshaw to force golden point.
- Brisbane lost Lavinia Gould (leg) and Jaime Chapman (HIA) inside the opening five minutes. Gould failed to return, but Chapman did after passing her HIA.
Play of the Game
A well executed set by the Dragons to put Pearson in position to kick a field goal, followed by a crisp strike from the cool-headed No.7 which will forever be remembered as the first golden point winner in NRLW history.
Pearson wins it for the Dragons
What they Said
"I thought we were quite dominant throughout the game, but obviously the scoreboard doesn't reflect that... overall we missed some opportunities throughout the game and we let them score off the back of our errors as well. It's an unfortunate result." - Broncos NRLW coach Kelvin Wright.
NRLW Broncos: Round 4
"Really happy for [Pearson], the girls will tell you I am pretty hard on her, trying to get the best out of her. I thought today was the big stage, we needed her to step up and she nailed it... at the death there I think it shows a lot of character that, while things weren't perfect in that second half, that we still had enough about us to be able to ice it." - Dragons NRLW coach Jamie Soward.
NRLW Dragons: Round 4
Brisbane take on the last-placed Eels in what could be a must-win match if they are to make the finals, while the Dragons will face a tough test against the second-placed Knights.