Brisbane’s Queensland State of Origin heroes have produced outstanding efforts to help the NRL leaders defeat Canterbury 16-8 at a wet ANZ Stadium.
Broncos and Maroons forwards Sam Thaiday, Corey Parker and Matt Gillett were terrific, while Darius Boyd was solid at the back in Saturday night’s three tries-to-two victory.
Thaiday in particular came up with some big plays, producing a classic one-on-one tackle to stop Tim Lafai late in the game while he scored a crucial try just before halftime that gave the Broncos a 10-4 lead.
It was the Broncos’ sixth consecutive victory and moved them to 30 competition points and four clear of the North Queensland who have the bye this weekend.
Canterbury, who rested NSW halfback Trent Hodkinson and had James Graham back from injury, did a great job to only trail by six points at halftime with the Broncos enjoying a mountain of possession.
Brisbane opened the scoring through winger Daniel Vidot who touched down on the left edge in the 15th minute after a simple shift caught the Bulldogs short.
Canterbury hit back when the Morris twins combined about 10 minutes later to level up at 4-4.
Fullback Brett popped a flick pass that looked forward for brother Josh to cross out wide.
The hosts cracked six minutes from halftime when Thaiday pushed off replacement forward Shaun Lane to score down the left edge with Jordan Kahu slotting the extras while Parker was having a well-earned break on the bench.
Lane scored the Bulldogs’ only other try when he barged over in the 50th minute before Adam Blair scored from close range 10 minutes later.
Bennett was full of praise for his players who backed up from Origin.
“They were outstanding. You couldn’t be more proud of those guys … Corey was still taking the ball up late in the game … it was a hard game in terms of intensity,” Bennett said.
“Sam was outstanding, he saved that try in the last tackle of the game virtually, making that effort there and I thought Darius at the back was so solid and we needed him there tonight and Matt Gillett did all he was asked to do tonight.”
Hasler, who confirmed Hodkinson was being rested, admitted it was a tough slog for the Bulldogs against a good team.
“Three tries to two was an indication of the type of game it was, it was a real grinding affair,” he said.
“They probably had the better of possession and what they did well tonight was limit our field position.
The Canterbury coach admitted he was disappointed with some aspects of his side’s play.
“I thought our end of set kicking was a bit poor, a bit off. They were pretty disciplined on the way they completed … anytime we got field position, we gave it away pretty cheaply.”