Bulldogs 12 Rabbitohs 17
Bulldogs: Mitch Brown (14’), Ben Barba (80’)
Rabbitohs: George Burgess (34’), Nathan Merritt (56’), Bryson Goodwin (69’)
With Ben Barba returning to the NRL, Bulldogs fans must have been fairly confident going into their clash with the second place Rabbitohs.
The Bulldogs got off to a fantastic start as the ball shifted left and Mitch Brown dove over in the corner (14’).
Both teams blew good field position early as ball security was an issue.
Rabbitohs big man George Burgess is proving to be unstoppable when inside the oppositions 20. Burgess received an inside ball and took on four defenders, put his head down, kept his legs pumping and stormed over for the Rabbits first try in the 34th minute.
Half Time: Bulldogs 6 Rabbitohs 6.
The Rabbitohs kept the pressure on, and when Adam Reynolds chipped to the corner Nathan Merritt was unmarked and put the ball down(56’).
Things were slipping away from the Bulldogs, and when Krisnan Inu upended Greg Inglis in a dangerous tackle (68’), the Rabbitohs had a set of six up their sleeve in great field position. Needless to say they capitalised, through Bryson Goodwin in the 69th minute.
Even though the Bulldogs went down, their fans would have been pleased to see their Dally M winner, Ben Barba, cross in the 80th minute for a consolation try.
Broncos 26 Storm 32
Broncos: Josh Hoffman (27’, 42’, 53’), Jack Reed (46’), Alex Glenn (72’)
Storm: Junior Sau (4’), Billy Slater (8’, 15’, 62’), Matthew Duffie (35’, 66’)
In front of 40,071 spectators at Suncorp Stadium, The Storm continued their unbeaten 2013 record.
Justin Hodges was ruled out just before kick off and replaced by debutant Jordan Kahu.
The Storm took full advantage of this early and attacked the left hand side. Junior Sau was able to get on the outside of Kahu and barged his way over in just the 4th minute.
Things went from bad to worse as Billy Slater crossed the line twice in the next 11 minutes. Once via a set piece off a scrum from 50 meters out (8′), and the other when Slater dived on a Cam Smith grubber (15’).
After much speculation about their inability to attack, the Broncos showed signs of improvement as they went left and scored through Josh Hoffman off the back of a second man play (27’).
Just as Brisbane swung some momentum back in their favour, Cooper Cronk and Slater took it right back. The two QLD players combined through a chip and chase to set up Melbourne’s 4th try (Matthew Duffie, 35’).
Half Time: Broncos 6 Storm 20.
The Broncos came out on fire in the second half and piled on three tries in 13 minutes. All three down the left hand side, with Josh Hoffman (42’, 53’) displaying two great finishes to put Brisbane up 22-20.
When Brisbane’s David Stagg and Josh Hoffman went off with injuries, Cronk and man of the match Billy Slater united once again. Slater completing his hat trick off a Cooper Cronk bomb.
Duffie grabbed a double in the 66th minute, which proved vital as Alex Glenn scored for the Broncos to make things interesting in the 72th minute.