Friday 15 December 2017 / 03:14 PM

BRONCOS’ BAD BLOOD AFTER KASIANO KICK

A potential finals grudge match has been set up in the wake of Brisbane’s fiery 20-10 win over Canterbury on Thursday night.

A contest fought with playoffs intensity and desperation bubbled over in the final few minutes – peaking with an unsavoury incident that left Broncos captain bleeding from his mouth after copping a boot from Bulldogs giant Sam Kasiano.

The Broncos opened the scoring with a hot-potato try finished off by rookie centre Tom Opacic, but Brett Morris equalised for the Bulldogs when a Moses Mbye grubber took a fortuitous bounce.

The home side landed a crucial blow on halftime as Ben Hunt regathered his own grubber and secured a 10-4 lead.

The Bulldogs’ attempts to get back into the game were thwarted by a flood of handling errors, while the Broncos’ goal-line defence returned to its early-season standard.

Sam Thaiday’s 57th-minute try and a Jordan Kahu penalty pushed the hosts out to 18-4, but a rampaging Kasiano crashed over next to the posts with 11 minutes left to give the blue-and-whites a sniff.

Kasiano was in the spotlight for the wrong reasons in the dying stages of an increasingly testy encounter, however, lashing out with his boot as he attempted to escape Parker’s clutches and catching the Test and Origin veteran in the face.

Parker and his teammates were furious, but upon video review Kasiano’s actions were not deemed worthy of a penalty. The Broncos took their anger out on the Bulldogs ball-runners in an explosive final few minutes, before Kahu iced a crucial win with another penalty goal.

The result edged the Broncos to within two points of the fourth-placed Bulldogs with two rounds to play.

Foot-in-mouth fallout

Parker wasn’t interested in Kasiano’s apology and explanation that the incident was accidental as the teams shook hands post-match.

The retiring great was clearly still upset during his on-field interview with former teammate Darren Lockyer.

Debate will range over the weekend over what charge and suspension Kasiano should face – or whether he should be charged at all.

The 130kg prop most likely knew someone was behind him when he kicked out, but it would be a long bow to draw to claim he intentionally booted Parker in the face.

Parker, meanwhile, is renowned for pushing the boundaries of fair play – particularly at Origin time – and many fans on social media believe the brilliant lock got his just desserts.

Opinions are bound to be split across state lines – and it appears in this instance, the boot is on the other foot for the Queenslanders.

Last season, Cameron Smith escaped penalty after wildly thrashing out with his feet and catching archrival Issac Luke’s head several times in a Melbourne-South Sydney clash.

Smith took an early guilty plea on a grade one dangerous contact charge, subsequently allowing him to play in the State of Origin series opener.

In 2013, Storm and Queensland superstar Billy Slater polarised fans when his airborne take of a bomb resulted in Bulldogs enforcer David Klemmer taking a boot to the face.

Slater was not charged.

Ironically, in a Broncos-Bulldogs encounter at Suncorp almost exactly two years ago, Josh Reynolds received a one-match ban on a grade one dangerous contact charge after kicking out in a tackle and hitting Thaiday.

Reynolds was apparently unsighted, as was Smith and, arguably, Kasiano.

On the basis of recent precedent, the dynamic front-rower can expect to miss one game at the most, depending on any existing carry-over points.

But public pressure can do funny things to a notoriously reactive and inconsistent NRL judiciary.

[YouTube – VAC 2016]

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About the author

Will Evans

CBS’s Editor-in-Chief and lead rugby league, union and cricket writer, Will is a Christchurch-based freelancer, also writing for Big League and Rugby League Review magazines, and The New Daily website. Will has written four rugby league books.

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