Broncos and Warriors fail to break deadlock
IT was mayhem. It was madness. It was heart-attack material. It was the best draw you have ever seen.
In the most bizarre game of the NRL season, the Broncos and Warriors last night had to settle for one-point each after slogging out an 18-18 stalemate on a night of melodrama at Suncorp Stadium.
Before 31,018 enthralled fans, the Broncos and Warriors traded a staggering six field-goal attempts - three apiece - but were ultimately left to share the spoils in the NRL's first draw in three years.
Given the equal measures of bumbling and brilliance, a draw was the fairest result.
For the Broncos, it is another kick in the guts for their finals hopes, with Brisbane now edging to 15 competition points and needing to win seven of their last eight games to be certain of making the top eight.
Trailing 16-6 at half-time, the Broncos appeared to produce a Houdini act when Queensland Origin rookie David Fifita produced a barnstorming run in the 65th minute to give his side an 18-16 lead.
But the final 15 minutes, including the extra-time period, resembled an episode of Fawlty Towers as the Broncos and Warriors fumbled and bumbled in a desperate bid for glory.
With the Warriors seemingly gone at 18-16, they looked to have snatched victory when Peta Hiku crossed in the 75th minute, only for the video-referee to rule a knock-on in the lead-up.
But the Warriors got a stay of execution when Tevita Pangai Jr inexplicably gave away a stripping penalty, enabling Issac Luke to land a 76th-minute penalty to send the game to golden point at 18-all.
The 10 minutes of extra-time was nerve-jangling stuff.
Warriors pivot Kodi Nikorima missed with three field-goal attempts against his former club, while Anthony Milford missed two shots and hooker James Segeyaro missed a sitter from 25 metres out.
The Warriors then had a glorious chance to score the match-winner three minutes from time when Chanel Harris-Tavita raced away, only for Broncos prop Payne Haas to pull off a stunning trysaver.
Harris-Tavita finished one metre short.
That summed up the night for both sides, who slumped to the turf in exhaustion when the full-time siren sounded.
The Broncos will rue a match that got away, with Brisbane producing a stirring second-half fightback, only for two silly penalties from Pangai Jr in the final five minutes to open the door for the Warriors.
Aside from Haas, who charged for a staggering 75 metres in the opening eight minutes, Brisbane's big men badly lost the midfield in the first half.
By the hour mark, the Warriors were so stuffed their forwards couldn't make it back for play three.
The Broncos, aided by an 87 per cent completion rate, simply looked fresher and the evidence came 15 minutes from time when Fifita charged through to give Brisbane an 18-16 lead.
It should have been the match-winner, but the Broncos lacked the nerve and smarts to finish the job.
BRISBANE 18 (D Boyd D Fifita P Haas tries K Staggs 3 goals) drew NZ WARRIORS 18 (A Blair D Fusitu'aI Luke tries I Luke 3 goals) after extra time at Suncorp Stadium. Referee: Chris Sutton, Matt Noyen. Crowd: 31,018.