Brisbane Broncos pip Sydney Roosters in NRL thriller, Warriors take care of Parramatta Eels
Two late tries handed the Brisbane Broncos a 28-22 victory against the Sydney Roosters, while the Warriors celebrated a 24-14 triumph over Parramatta.
Isaako, Roberts star as Broncos edge out Roosters
Jamayne Isaako touches down for the first of his two tries against the Roosters. (AAP: Dan Peled)
A solo Jamayne Isaako try has clinched a late 28-22 victory for Brisbane in a see-sawing battle with the Sydney Roosters at Lang Park.
With scores locked 22-22, Isaako shaped to kick a field goal before weaving his way to the line for a sensational match-winner for his injury-hit side.
His try capped an incredible back and forth contest, highlighted by the showdown between New South Wales State of Origin centre hopefuls, James Roberts and Latrell Mitchell.
Roberts used sheer speed to beat five to put the Broncos level with seven minutes to play after Mitchell had tormented him in a devastating first half display.
Incumbent Queensland forward Dylan Napa was sin-binned in a frenzied finish after felling Korbin Sims and will face a nervous wait at the judiciary after offering an early plea last week.
The hyped showdown between potential Queensland hookers Andrew McCullough and Jake Friend was unremarkable but the clash of centres more than made up for it.
In another example of his State of Origin readiness, Mitchell toyed with Roberts to set up two first-half tries and look dangerous every time he touched the ball.
Roberts joked earlier this week that he still had the 20-year-old’s palm print on his chest from a fend in last year’s finals series.
He added to that show reel by brushing Roberts aside to usher the Roosters’ first try for Luke Keary 12 minutes in, while an accidental knee to Roberts’ groin completed a forgettable first 40 minutes for the Broncos speedster.
He responded well, though, setting up Isaako for a four-pointer 10 minutes into the second stanza that reinstalled the host’s lead.
Again the Roosters had a reply, Isaac Liu bumping off McCullough beside the posts for a 18-16 lead entering the final 15 minutes before Boyd Cordner pounced on a Keary grubber to put Sydney ahead 22-16 with 13 minutes to play.
Debutant Kotoni Staggs was thrust into the action after just three minutes, replacing a groggy Tom Opacic after he copped a knee while tackling Blake Ferguson.
His try and assist helped the Broncos, missing five regulars through injury, stay in the hunt before Roberts and Isaako powered them home.
The win puts both sides level on 12 points, with 6-5 records entering the Origin period.
Warriors’ win adds to Parramatta’s pain
The Warriors celebrate after scoring a try in their victory over the Eels. (AAP: Daniel Munoz)
The Warriors have pushed Parramatta’s season towards a state of disrepair, coming over the top of the Eels to win 24-14 at Sydney’s Olympic stadium.
After the Warriors led 12-2 at the break, the Eels looked like getting their year back on track when they crossed twice to build a 14-12 lead with 19 minutes to play.
But they let the match slip just eight minutes later when Mitchell Moses misfielded an awkward Blake Green kick, allowing Warriors utility Jazz Tevaga to scoop up the ball and score.
Crucially, it came off the back of a Moses penalty for a leg pull, just as the Eels looked to be in control of the tempo and the Warriors pinned in their own end.
Moses – pushing for New South Wales State of Origin selection – was good for the Eels early in the second half as he played the ball more directly before the crucial back-to-back plays.
Warriors Hooker Issac Luke scurried over from dummy half to put the match beyond doubt with six minutes to play.
With 12 wins the likely minimum cut-off for a finals spot, the pre-season contenders need 10 victories from their last 13 matches to have any chance of playing finals football.
They will also finish the round at the bottom of the ladder for a 10th-consecutive week, with just two wins to their name.
The loss might also have come at a significant cost to off-contract veteran Beau Scott. He limped from the field with a knee injury midway through the second half.
The Warriors’ victory ensures they will remain in the top four, a position they have not relinquished all season.
With star half-back Shaun Johnson still out with a knee injury, youngster Mason Lino again impressed in the number seven jersey as he set up both of their first-half tries.
Lino first put winger David Fusitu’a over for a miraculous mid-air effort in the 12th minute off the back of a quick ball to his outside.
He kicked across field nine minutes later for Ken Maumalo, who found Peta Hiku to brush past George Jennings to score.