The Brisbane Broncos were hoping to end their six-game losing streak as they welcomed a Canterbury Bulldogs side, featuring England international Luke Thompson, to Suncorp Stadium.
With a victory vitality important to both sides, the game started in an extremely relaxed manner, with both sides trying to keep hold of the ball.
The Broncos kept hold of the ball better though, as they forced a goal-line dropout and in the resulting set picked up the first points.
Tevita Pangai Junior managed to find an offload to Isaac Luke 15-metres out, who spread the ball to Corey Oates, playing a second-row, who powered over to score.
In the 15th minute, the Broncos looked to have picked up their second as Brodie Croft’s high kick wasn’t claimed by Nick Meaney and was grabbed by Xavier Coates who dropped over the line.
However, Coates knocked the ball into Meaney before fulling gathering the ball and knock-on was called.
That call didn’t stop the Broncos though as Aidan Tolman fumbled the ball in just the second tackle, and the loose ball was kicked ahead by Pangai Junior, who regathered his own kick and scored by the posts.
On 25 minutes, the Bulldogs came close to pulling a score back. However, the fifth tackle play was cleared up by Tesi Niu who raced to the 40-metre line to clear the danger.
With just over ten minutes until the break, Kieran Foran’s kick was claimed by Jaymayne Isaako on the goal-line. However, Reimis Smith ended up with the ball over the try line for the Bulldogs.
The ball was stripped out of Isaako’s grasp with two Canterbury players in the tackle so the score remained 10-0.
The Bulldogs crossed again just moments later, as they punished Thomas Fleger’s dropped ball.
They spread the ball over the Nick Meaney who charged into the left-hand corner and dove over in the corner beyond the tackle of Coates and Niu to score.
Both sides began to get more physical in the tackles, putting their opposite numbers under pressure with ball in hand.
The Bulldogs managed to force a goal-line drop-out in the final minute, but only managed two tackles before the half was called.
HALF-TIME: Brisbane Broncos 10-4 Canterbury Bulldogs
Despite some early pressure from Canterbury, it was the Broncos who looked to score the first points of the second half.
Anthony Milford put in an early kick in behind Christian Crichton and Jaymayne Isaako chased forwards to ground the bouncing ball.
With 25 minutes to go, and Bulldogs conceded a penalty after Smith put in a dangerous tackle.
Despite the penalty being 40 metres out from the posts, the Broncos chose to take the two points and take a 18-4 lead.
The Bulldogs were struggling to get any form of grip on the game, and after a knock-on gifted Brisbane an attacking scrum in centre-field, the home side spread the ball wide to Coates who walked in for an easy try.
With just over ten minutes remaining, following plenty of scrappy play, the Bulldogs pulled a score back as Keiran Foran took the ball to the line and threw a long pass out to Dallin Watene-Zelezniak to dot down in the left corner.
Despite the game being all but won for the Broncos, they hadn’t quite finished pickup up points.
Pangai Junior looked as though he was being tackled into touch, but the prop-forward managed to get the offload away which bounced into the hands of Isaako, who grounded the ball in the corner.
The Bulldogs closed the game out with the ball in hand, but couldn’t pick up a consolation try as Luke Thompson was wrapped up by Pangai Junior on the last.
FULL-TIME: Brisbane Broncos 26-8 Canterbury Bulldogs
Niu, Isaako, Farnworth, Boyd, Coates, Milford, Croft, Pangai Junior, Luke, Haas, Glenn, Pates, Carrigan
Interchanges: Flegler, Te’o, Paix, Hopoate
Tries: Oates, Pangai Junior, Isaako (2), Coates
Goals: Isaako (3/6)
Watene-Zelezniak, Meaney, Smith, Montoya, Crichton, Foran, Wakeham, Tolman, Katoa, Napa, Jackson, Faitala-Mariner, Thompson
Interchanges: Marshall-King, To’omaga, Sue, Ogden
Tries: Meaney, Watene-Zelazniak
Goals: Meaney (0/2)
Referee: C. Sutton
Touch Judges: Z. Przeklasa-Adamski, M. Noyen
Video Referee: B. Scott
Image Source: @NRL (Twitter)