|Match Date||2nd May, 2004|
|Venue||Homebush (Telstra Stadium)|
A late Brent Sherwin field goal and Willie Mason try has pushed the Bulldogs to a 25-18 win over Brisbane at Sydney's Olympic Stadium.
The home side took advantage of an embarassing Gorden Tallis mistake late in the match to eclipse the Broncos in front of a disappointing crowd of 17,104 and keep top spot on the National Rugby League ladder.
With his side leading 18-12 with around 11 minutes remaining, Brisbane skipper Tallis tried to catch a Braith Anasta kick with one foot on the sideline deep in his own territory but the ball slipped through his grasp.
Bulldogs forward Andrew Ryan scooped the ball up from dummy half and crashed over under the sticks from the ensuing set to tie the scores.
Ryan's try turned the match for the Bulldogs and they took the lead when Sherwin snapped a field goal on his second attempt with three minutes left.
Mason then exploited some tired Broncos defence to put the icing on the cake for the Bulldogs and Hazem El Masri converted as the siren sounded in the background.
Brisbane's agonising defeat was capped off by an injury to five-eighth and star playmaker Darren Lockyer in the first half.
He left the field with suspected rib cartilage damage and did not return to the fray.
Brisbane had done well to get themselves back into the match after going 12-0 down at the 28 minute mark.
Tries to prop Mark O'Meley and hooker Adam Perry put the visitors on the back foot, before lock Tonie Carroll put them back in it with a try in the corner five minutes before the break.
O'Meley's 14th minute try was a special, with the New South Wales State of Origin hopeful using brute strength to bust through the three-man tackle of Corey Parker, Brent Tate and Dane Carlaw.
It had come after Dogs' centre Jamaal Lolesi had been held up over the line and then had the ball stripped from his grasp to gain a penalty for his side.
Perry's try also resulted from a Tallis error.
The second rower had tried to flick the ball out the back under heavy traffic but it was swooped on by the opposition defence in the Broncos' half.
Moments later Bulldogs forward Steve Price exploited some sloppy defending to slip a ball to Perry, who crashed over under the posts.
Lockyer's exit put the bulk of attacking responsibilities on half-back Brett Seymour's shoulders and his hoisted kick across the field caught Bulldogs winger Matt Utai out of position.
Brisbane winger Michael De Vere snatched the ball and got it to Carroll, who planted the ball in the corner to get his side on the board.
De Vere slotted the sideline conversion to pull the deficit back to six.
Complacent play from the Bulldogs in the second half allowed the Broncos back in the game.
Referee Tim Mander went upstairs for adjudication on a Corey Parker effort in the 52nd minute, and it was ruled he had planted the ball on the line.
Four minutes later Tallis put a huge fend on Mason to score and the Broncos had hit the lead.
Anasta's resulting kick-off went out on the full and it all seemed to be going wrong for the Bulldogs.
But that was until Tallis's mistake.
The Broncos now slip to fourth on the ladder, with the Bulldogs, Roosters and Dragons taking the top three spots.
|Hazem El Masri||Wing||0||4||0||8|
|Braith Anasta||Five Eighth||0||0||0||0|
|Brent Sherwin||Half Back||0||0||1||1|
|Willie Mason||Second Row||1||0||0||4|
|Andrew Ryan||Second Row||1||0||0||4|
|Mark O'Meley||Front Row||1||0||0||4|
|Steve Price||Front Row||0||0||0||0|