The South Sydney Rabbitohs have stolen victory in the dying minutes of the game from the Brisbane Broncos in an ANZAC Day classic in front of 44,122 at Suncorp Stadium this evening (Friday).
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With both sides locked at 26 apiece with two minutes remaining, a penalty to the Rabbitohs allowed halfback Adam Reyniolds to kick a 40 metre penalty goal to take the match. But the match was far more than just a thrilling finish.
The Rabbitohs raced out to a 14-0 lead after just 15 minutes – including a Greg Inglis try that is sure to feature in the end of year try of the year reel – but the Broncos quickly got back into the match, scoring three tries off the back of 10 straight sets.
After blowing good field position early with a mistake, the Rabbitohs got back inside the Broncos’ red zone, mounting a well-orchestrated play that saw Greg Inglis break through and pass onto Apisai Koroisau – the young Fijian putting a huge fend on Justin Hodges to grab his side’s first try and his first try in the top grade. Adam Reynolds added the extras from right next to the posts to make it six nil after eight minutes.
A Broncos mistake just one set later right on their own try-line put the Rabbitohs in perfect attacking position, and it was Alex Johnston this time who benefited just nine minutes in to his top grade career – taking an Adam Reynolds chip kick to also grab his first try in the corner. Reynolds’ conversion attempt was waved away leaving the score at 10-0.
The Rabbitohs continued to look dangerous, but it was Greg Inglis who outshone them all in the 15th minute off the back of a failed Ben Barba chip kick. Inglis took the erroneous kick before racing almost 80 metres – beating six defenders – to score a brilliant individual try. Reynolds again failed to convert to make it 14 points in 15 minutes for the red and greens.
Another Broncos mistake at the 20 minute mark almost allowed Souths to go over again. But despite a purposeful raid from the red and greens, Luke Burgess was unable to hold onto the pill with the line all but open.
Just minutes later, Adam Reynolds then looked to attack yet again, this time with a grubber-kick into the in-goal. Dylan Walker swooped onto the ball and looked to score, but the video-referee deemed an Ben Te’o had knocked on in an earlier attempt at the ball.
After 25 minutes of play, the Broncos finally got on the board when a rare Greg Inglis mistake allowed Andrew McCullough to plant the ball down out wide. Corey Parker failed to convert making the score 14-4 in Souths’ favour.
Lachlan Maranta added to the Broncos’ score-card with a try on the side-line, and with Corey Parker’s conversion, the Rabbitohs found themselves just four points ahead.
The Broncos’ Matt Gillett crossed the line in the 36th minute, but despite being held in goal, the Brisbane back-rower got the ball down to grab the lead with Ben Hunt’s conversion, 16-14 at half-time.
On the resumption, McCullough managed a sneaky try from dummy-half, catching the Rabbitohs napping in defence. Hunt converted to make it 22-14 in the home-side’s favour.
With the Rabbitohs finally back on the Broncos side of half-way, two penalties gifted an opportunity and George Burgess took advantage – the rampaging forward slicing through the Broncos defence to score a much-needed try. Reynolds converted to make it a two-point ball game at 22-20.
A penalty for hands in the ruck from Sam Burgess gave the Broncos another shot, and it proved costly for the Rabbitohs as Jack Reed capitalised with a four-pointer to make it 26-20.
With the game in the balance, a one on one strip from Chris McQueen allowed the Rabbitohs to attack the Brisbane line. A decoy play then allowed Kirisome Auva’a to slide over for a crucial four-pointer. Reynolds landed the pressure kick from short range to lock the game up with seven minutes left.
The game reached fever-pitch as the Broncos struggled to get into position to land a field-goal, but Sam Burgess charged the ball down, before getting a penalty for a strip giving Adam Reynolds a shot from 40 metres out. Reynolds showed great composure to slot it, regaining them the lead at 28-26 and a famous victory.
Rabbitohs 28 (Apisai Koroisau, Alex Johnston, Greg Inglis, George Burgess,tries; Adam Reynolds 3 goals)
Broncos 26 (Andrew McCullough 2, Lachlan Maranta, Matt Gillett, Jack Reed tries; Corey Parker 1 Ben Hunt 1 goals)