The Brisbane Broncos have clinched the World Club Series for the NRL on the back of a thrilling 14-12 golden-point victory over the Wigan Warriors at the DW Stadium this morning (Sunday AEDT).
After a brutal showing from the Wigan side that saw them come back to draw the game after regulation time, the WCS would ultimately come down to a Corey Parker penalty-goal – but not without controversy.
Parker lined up the shot, but as soon as his boot went to ball, Wigan’s Anthony Gelling flew in Rugby Union style, spoiling the kick. Gelling was sin-binned and Parker re-took the kick to confirm the result for the Broncos and the NRL by 14-12.
It was a torrid encounter from the get-go. With the Broncos forcing a mistake early from Wigan on their own line, the visitors got their hands on the ball right in front of the sticks and made the most of it courtesy of a four-pointer through Andrew McCullough just eight minutes in. Corey Parker converted from right in front to make it six points to nil.
Another mistake would yield points in the 28th minute, but this time, it would be Wigan who would benefit. With the Warriors pressing the Broncos line, a deft grubber-kick into the in-goal was swooped on by Liam Farrell to level the scores up at six apiece with Matty Smith’s conversion to round out the scoring for the first half.
After a tight arm-wrestle, it was the Broncos who would finally break the dead-lcok after a brilliant back-line movement that saw Justin Hodges throw a cut-out pass to Lachlan Maranta to score in the corner to make it 10-6.
While Corey Parker missed the conversion attempt, an opportunity to atone came in the 67th minute, when a penalty to the Broncos within kicking distance was calmly slotted to make the difference a converted try.
The ferocity of the match began to boil over as time ran out for Wigan, with their massive pack of forwards racing up in defence to smash Broncos attackers.
Just when everyone thought the game was lost, Wigan went from one end of the field to the other with Joe Burgess ultimately taking the final pass to score a crucial try with two minutes on the clock remaining. Matty Smith slotted the conversion under tremendous pressure to send the game to golden-point.
Brisbane were the first to have a shot at field goal during the extra period, with Ben Hunt snapping the shot from 35 metres out, but the attempt landed well wide of the target. Matty Smith then had a go of his own rom near the touch-line but to no avail, before the bizarre penalty-goal and sin-binning finish.
The Rabbitohs will now take on St Helens in the centre-piece match of the tournament tomorrow morning (AEDT) for a chance at becoming world champions.
Broncos 14 (Andrew McCullough, Lachlan Maranta tries; Corey Parker 3 goals)
Warriors 12 (Liam Farrell, Joe Burgess, tries; Matty Smith 2 goals)
The World Club Challenge match will be broadcast live on GEM with coverage beginning at 5:30am on Monday 23rd (AEDT).