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Broncos set up epic clash with Dolphins after finishing too strong for Dragons

The Broncos set up a top of the table showdown with the Dolphins after piling on four tries in nine minutes to beat the Dragons 40-18 at Suncorp Stadium.

The Broncos trailed 16-8 at halftime and the scores were locked at 18-18 until the 71st minute but they finished too strong to ensure an epic build up to the historic clash with their new cross-town rivals on Friday night. 

The Dragons opened the scoring through winger Mat Feagai in the sixth minute but they were on the back foot in the opening exchanges as Selwyn Cobbo had a try disallowed and Kotoni Staggs scored.

Tyrell Sloan showed his class when he accelerated through a gap to score and give the visitors the lead in the 28th minute after receiving an offload from Samoa second-rower Jaydn Su'A.

Fellow St George Illawarra young gun Jayden Sullivan put his side further ahead seven minutes later when he slipped out of an attempted tackle by Ezra Mam and Kurt Capewell to score a brilliant individual try.

Sullivan slips through the Broncos defence

However, a two-point field goal on the last play of the first half by Broncos captain Adam Reynolds narrowed the deficit to 16-8 at the interval and it was a different game after the break.

Staggs got his second try in the 50th minute after gathering up a Reynolds grubber kick and juggling the ball before regaining control and performing a forward roll as he ground the ball in the Dragons in-goal.

A silky pick up from Staggs

A try saving tackle by Sloan denied Cobbo and the Dragons appeared to have steadied when Mikaele Ravalawa burst through the defence from the backfield.

Zac Lomax won the race for a deep kick from Ben Hunt, only for the try to be disallowed after replays showed he had put his hand on the touchline as he ground the ball. 

Cobbo was finally rewarded when he scored eight minutes before fulltime after Reynolds feigned to kick and passed to fullback Reece Walsh, who turned the winger back inside to cross near the posts.

Walsh scored two tries and Mam also crossed as the flood gates opened and Brisbane ran out 40-18 winners.

Match snapshot

  • Adam Reynolds kicked his third two-point field goal on the stroke of halftime, with his side trailing 16-6.
  • The Broncos have won their opening three matches of the season for the first time since 2009.
  • The scores were locked at 18-18 in the 71st minute but the Broncos piled on four late tries to secure a big win.
  • The remarkable second half comeback was built on back of Brisbane completing 17 of their 19 sets of possession.
  • Star prop Payne Haas carried the ball for 227 metres and laid on two tries in another barnstorming 63 minute stint.
  • Brisbane are one of just three unbeaten teams after three rounds, along with the Dolphins and Sea Eagles.
  • The Broncos produced 13 offloads to four by the Dragons.
  • Queensland Reds coach and former Broncos premiership winning forward Brad Thorn sat in the coach's box with Brisbane mentor Kevin Walters.  

The Broncos keep entertaining

Play of the game

The Broncos had been out enthused for most of the opening 40 minutes and were trailing 16-6 when captain Adam Reynolds slotted a long range field on the last play of the first half to kick start their stunning fightback.

Reynolds nails 2-point field goal

What they said

"Adam brings so much to our team as a captain, he knows when to kick the ball, how to kick the ball and with our attack as well ... he is a great player. When our forwards can support him the way he needs them to, he is very good at what he does. Even from behind the ball as well when things aren't going so well he can get us back in the game too, so we are really proud to have him here," - Broncos coach Kevin Walters.


"There was nothing in the game for 70 minutes and it was a bizarre last 10, obviously. They were really tough conditions out there and one team was going to crack. Unfortunately I think we only had 10 sets to their 20 by that stage and five inside their 20 [metre zone] to their 25, so it just told in the end. We were way on top and for 70 minutes we had struggled and scrapped to stay in the game. At 18-18, whoever scored next was going to win the game and in the end you look at the scoreboard, but I was really impressed with our resolve. They are the best team in the comp over the three rounds [so far]," - Dragons coach Anthony Griffin. 

NRL Press Conference: Broncos v Dragons - Round 3, 2023

What's next

The Broncos take on new cross-town rivals, the Dolphins, for the first time at Suncorp Stadium on Friday night and will be aiming to win bragging rights by inflicting their inaugural loss.

Prop Payne Haas was placed on report for a high tackle on St George Illawarra forward Francis Molo.  

The Dragons host the Sharks and Dolphins in the next two weeks before travelling to the Gold Coast to take on the Titans for the second time this season.

Rookie forward Toby Couchman, who failed a HIA last week and missed the Broncos clash due to concussion protocols, may be available for Sunday night's derby against Cronulla at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium.

Jack de Belin is at least another week away with his calf injury.


Acknowledgement of Country

St George Illawarra Dragons respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders peoples, where our games are played, our programs are conducted and in the communities we support.

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