The Broncos beat the Raiders 24-18 for their seventh straight win, despite losing Payne Haas, Adam Reynolds and Herbie Farnworth to injury in a frantic clash at Suncorp Stadium.
A new AC shoulder injury to Payne Haas has Broncos and Blues coach Brad Fittler nervous after he left in the first half and was ruled out for the game.
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The Broncos also lost skipper Adam Reynolds to a rib injury and Herbie Farnworth to a bicep injury, with Michael Ennis lamenting a “catastrophic” injury record for Brisbane.
Broncos young shooter Ezra Mam dove from close range to give the hosts a 6-0 lead.
The Raiders went up the board with Nick Cotric edging out the Broncos to even the score at 6-6.
The Broncos responded with a try on his Brisbane debut for winger Jordan Pereira, who replaced the flank-rested Selwyn Cobbo.
Corey Horsburgh burst in from close range to see the Raiders lock the scores again in a see-saw first half.
The Broncos appeared to have the last laugh of the first half with Te Maire Martin setting up Herbie Farnworth for a try to make it 16-12.
However, Adam Elliott charged for the Raiders to give the visitors a slim two-point half-time lead.
Bad news from the Broncos falls at halftime with Haas ruled out with another AC injury to his right shoulder ruling him out for the game and casting doubt on his Origin II hopes.
Farnworth picked up where he left off in the first half with a second down after the restart to see the Broncos reclaim the lead at 22-18.
A penalty to Reynolds saw the Broncos extend the lead to six points, before the Broncos skipper succumbed to a rib injury.
The Broncos also lost Farnworth to a rib injury and Ezra Mam to an HIA, but held on for a famous win, despite being reduced to an empty bench in the second half.
Here are the main takeaways from the game.
BRONCOS NEW LOOK HALVES SHINE DESPITE HORROR INJURY TOLL
The Broncos overcame a horror injury toll that reduced them to an empty bench late in the game, but the victory was set up by their new look halves, Adam Reynolds and Ezra Mam.
Injuries to Payne Haas (shoulder), Reynolds (ribs), Herbie Farnworth (biceps) and Mam (HIA) marred a gutsy victory, but there was a lot to like about the performance that secured a seventh straight victory for the first times since 2015.
Cooper Cronk marveled at the performance of Reynolds and Mam, whose combination set the tone for the rest of the team.
“I think the Broncos’ spine connected really well,” Cronk said.
“Billy Walters had a great game, but Adam Reynolds and Ezra Mam were outstanding.
“They were moving the ball left and right and causing all sorts of problems for the Raiders.”
Benji Marshall thinks Reynolds’ impact on the team is so clear upon his return from injury and hopefully his new rib problem doesn’t hold him back for too long.
“The inclusion of Adam Reynolds in the Brisbane squad tonight makes them look more direct,” Marshall said.
“They look sharper around the edges and a few tries to draw and pass.”
Michael Ennis thinks Mam and Reynolds can be halves of the Broncos for a long time.
“Ezra Mam had a great time and combined beautifully with Adam Reynolds,” Ennis said.
“They had some nice touches on the left side.
“They tormented Tomoko and Fogarty on that left edge. Each time they’ve been there as a couple, they’ve been a handful and found a way through.
RAIDERS ENFORCER IN CAREER BEST SHAPE
He may have played on the team that consisted of 13 Broncos, but Joe Tapine did everything in his power to get his team over the line.
Tapine is in the best shape of his career and he led the Raiders forward with a superb display of power and brutal defense.
Tapine finished with 209 yards running, the most of any player on the Xavier Savage match bar and also had three tackle busts, six offloads, a line break assist and 25 tackles in a huge all-around performance.
Cooper Cronk and Benji Marshall were impressed with Tapine’s improved game this year.
“Joseph Tapine was one of the best players on the court,” Cronk said.
“Tapine was definitely one of the best players,” added Marshall.
“He’s gone to another level for the Raiders this season.”
FARNWORTH SHINES IN THE ABSENCE OF STAGGS
His night may have ended prematurely with a bicep injury, but Broncos center Herbie Farnworth picked up the win with a star display without his injured partner-in-crime Kotoni Staggs.
Staggs has been excellent this season and won his Blues shirt, but Michael Ennis thinks Farnworth has arguably been in even better shape in 2022.
“Well, he’s been good this season Herbie Farnworth,” Ennis said.
“Staggs had some great moments which obviously capture the best moments, but the consistency and damage that Farnworth did on that left side was exceptional.”
Farnworth finished with 67 yards running, a tackle bust, a line break and two tries in a superb display for the Broncos.
It’s not hard to see why Farnworth has been compared to a young Joseph Manu and he has a huge future in the NRL.
The Broncos will be sweating over his fitness as being without their two hitting centers would be a tough pill to swallow.
The Brisbane Broncos host the Canberra Raiders in a blockbuster matchup at Suncorp Stadium.
The Broncos welcome back skipper Adam Reynolds after an injury in a timely boost with Ezra Mam dropping to five-eights for the injured Tyson Gamble.
Brisbane will be without Origin stars Kotoni Staggs with a shoulder injury, while Selwyn Cobbo has been rested as Brenko Lee and Jordan Pereira join the squad.
However, Blues prop Payne Haas and Maroons back rower Patrick Carrigan will pick up the slack for Queensland’s Origin victory.
For the Raiders, Jack Wighton is expected to retire from his star display for the Blues and he will play five-eights alongside Jamal Fogarty.
Queensland prop Josh Papalii will also feature after registering just 19 minutes in the Origin opener, with Corey Horsburgh returning to the bench alongside Corey Harawira-Naera who is returning from Covid protocols.
That sets the stage for a crucial matchup as the Broncos aim to cement their place in the top four, while the resurgent Raiders look to stay in touch with the top eight.
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