Premiership favourites Brisbane host the erratic Warriors on Friday night, but the clubs’ previous encounters at Suncorp Stadium are a reminder that nothing can be taken for granted when the two meet at the hallowed venue. The massive expat contingent in the crowd gives it an almost home-game feel for the Warriors – and the Kiwis have enjoyed some of their greatest moments at the ground. The Broncos, too, have pulled off some of their most important wins of the NRL era at the Warriors’ expense at Suncorp. Here’s our top 5 Broncos-Warriors games at Suncorp Stadium.
5. Round 3, 2010 – Warriors 48 d. Broncos 16 (Crowd: 32,338)
Unheralded half James Maloney chalked up a club record-equalling 28 points from three tries and eight goals in the Warriors’ stunning 48-16 win in Round 3 – the highest score ever conceded by the Broncos at Suncorp Stadium at the time. The match was evenly poised at 20-16 10 minutes into the second stanza, before Maloney scored a genuine hat-trick – and 20 unanswered points on his own – inside the final 17 minutes to seal a resounding win. Little-known hooker Aaron Heremaia took the three Dally M points from a memorable Sunday afternoon for the Warriors.
4. Round 1, 2004 – Broncos 28 d. Warriors 20 (Crowd: 28,548)
Auckland-born 17-year-old Karmichael Hunt made his first grade debut in the fullback spot vacated by Darren Lockyer in a 28-20 opening-round thriller in 2004 as the Broncos broke a four-match losing streak against the New Zealanders. In the first match between the clubs at Suncorp Stadium, the Warriors took a 10-0 lead courtesy of an early Brent Webb double, while Hunt endured some shaky moments at the back. The seesawing clash saw the hosts score 22 unanswered points to take a handy lead, before the Warriors struck back with another couple tries to trim the deficit to just two points with 10 minutes to play. Man-of-the-match Shaun Berrigan’s second try sealed the result for the Broncos.
3. Round 19, 2014 – Broncos 28 d. Warriors 22 (Crowd: 37,082)
The Ben Hunt- and Dale Copley-inspired Broncos grabbing a momentous 28-22 upset at home. Three Broncos players had been dumped in the lead-up for an ill-advised midweek drinking session, but the embattled hosts overturned an early 12-0 deficit to run out deserving winners – largely thanks to Copley’s brilliant second-half double. The Round 19 result proved crucial to teams’ respective finals hopes; the Broncos scraped into eighth spot courtesy of a for-and-against figure a mere 13 points superior to that of the ninth-placed Warriors.
2. Round 12, 2013 – Warriors 56 d. Broncos 18 (Crowd: 21,259)
The previously out-of-form Warriors emphatically announced their 2013 campaign was not dead and buried, destroying an Origin-depleted Broncos side 56-18 in a spectacular Monday night display. Glen Fisiiahi, Konrad Hurrell, Manu Vatuvei and Thomas Leuluai each bagged doubles in the 10-try drubbing, which featured the Warriors at their unstoppable offensive best. Both of Leuluai’s first-half tries came from backing up remarkable kick-and-regather efforts, by Feleti Mateo and Kevin Locke respectively, while Vatuvei’s 75-metre runaway try just after halftime was arguably the highlight. Burly prop Russell Packer also scored from close range, but attracted more attention for urinating on the field prior to kick-off in what would be his second-last appearance for the club before an ill-fated move to Newcastle. Two late Warriors tries saw the overpowered Broncos concede 50 points at home for the first time in their history.
1. Round 22, 2011 – Broncos 21 d. Warriors 20 (Crowd: 37,173)
A late Peter Wallace field goal thrust Brisbane to a heart-stopping 21-20 victory over the ever-dangerous Warriors in one of 2011’s best matches at Suncorp Stadium. Broncos talisman Darren Lockyer, who equalled Terry Lamb and Steve Menzies at the top of the premiership’s all-time appearance list in his 349th outing, set up fellow veteran Justin Hodges for the first try in just the fifth minute. But rookie Warriors halfback Shaun Johnson – making just his eighth NRL appearance – responded with one of the great individual tries of all time, a searing 75-metre effort.
Fullback Kevin Locke finished off an equally stunning four-pointer after a James Maloney chip-and-chase to set up a 12-4 lead, delighting the large Kiwi contingent in the crowd, but the home side ran in three unanswered tries to craft their own eight-point advantage. Former Broncos star Shaun Berrigan, who linked with the Warriors in 2011 after three seasons at Hull, plunged over at his old home ground to narrow the gap and Maloney equalised with a penalty. Johnson’s long-range 77th-minute field goal attempt fell agonisingly under the cross-bar, before Wallace’s 21-metre snap with 100 seconds left sealed the win.