Broncos sweat on ‘gentlemen’s agreement’
Brisbane face a nervous wait to see if they are bounced out of the NRL's finals in the unlikeliest fashion after they were upset 30-14 by Canterbury at ANZ Stadium.
Needing a win to guarantee a finals spot, Brisbane were outplayed by Canterbury on Saturday night as Nick Meaney scored a hat-trick and Lachlan Lewis starred.
NRL WEEK 1 FINALS DATES AND TIMES
The dates and times for the first week of the finals have been announced, although the final make up of the top eight is still to be confirmed.
- Friday September 13, 7pm: Sydney Roosters Vs South Sydney Rabbitohs @ the SCG
- Saturday September 14, 4.30pm: Melbourne Storm Vs Canberra Raiders @ AAMI Park
- Saturday September 14, 7.40pm: Manly Sea Eagles Vs (Seventh Ranked Team) @ Lottoland
- Sunday September 15, 3.10pm: Parramatta Eels Vs (Eighth Ranked Team) @ Bankwest Stadium
THE TOP EIGHT EQUATION
The Broncos result leaves the final make up of the top eight wide open.
- If the Tigers beat the Sharks, the Tigers are through in seventh, the Broncos eighth.
- If the Sharks beat the Tigers, the Sharks finish seventh, the Broncos eighth.
- If the Tigers and Sharks play out a 90 minute draw, the Sharks finish seventh, the Tigers eighth and the Broncos ninth.
Working in Brisbane's favour is the fact there has been just one draw in the past 600 games, dating back to early August 2016 but fans on social media are floating an agreement between the teams which would send both the Tigers and Sharks through.
Don’t forget if Brisbane lose tonight and the Sharks 🦈 and Tigers 🐅 play a draw tomorrow, then they’ll both play finals and the Broncos won’t. #conspiracytheory— Julian Abbott (@JulianBAbbott) September 7, 2019
Hopefully the Tigers and Sharks have a gentleman’s agreement tomorrow and have a draw after 90 mins. Then the broncos miss out 👌👌👌— MUZZA (@MJBIS) September 7, 2019
What money on a draw and tigers and sharks both go through ???— Bernie Coen (@berniecoen) September 7, 2019
Broncos will very likely make the finals based on the odds of a draw happening between the sharks and the tigers but as a fan I can’t see them winning in the first round #NRLBulldogsBroncos— Damien Brown (@beatdown155) September 7, 2019
But regardless of which scenario plays out, Brisbane were served a serious wake-up call by a Bulldogs team who finish the season with five wins from the last six games.
Broncos coach Anthony Seibold ripped into his side after the match.
"It looked like the Bulldogs were playing for a place in the finals not us," Seibold fumed.
"We can't control what happens tomorrow. We can control what happens tonight and we were outplayed by a really good Bulldogs side and we got what we deserved.
"The first set summed it up. We had two offloads against us and two missed tackles so that is an attitude.
"We were way off tonight. Our attitude was poor. I thought they were well past it, but clearly they turned up looking for a soft performance or just dipping the toe in.
"I was really disappointed tonight and I'm quite negative at the moment."
Brisbane were only really in the contest for 10 minutes before halftime, as the Bulldogs pulled out to a 12-0 lead early and controlled the second half.
David Fifita, Kitoni Staggs and Payne Haas were easily their best, with the latter scoring two tries in the space of four minutes just before the break.
His first came on the back of a long run from Fifita, while his second came as he ran through and leapt high to take a Jake Turpin bomb and score.
Anthony Milford also crossed in the second half, while Haas finished with 201 metres and six tackle busts.
But they were still outscored by Meaney, who finished the night with 22 points - the most of any Canterbury player in a match against Brisbane.
He had his first when they typically unconventional Lewis turned his back to the defence and threw a cut-out ball for the unmarked winger in the third minute.
The pair combined early in the second half as well, with Lewis this timekicking early for his unmarked finisher.
His third was down to a nicely-executed cut-out ball down the short side from Will Hopoate.
Remis Smith and Josh Jackson also scored for the Bulldogs, leaving Dean Pay's side to head into the 2020 season with renewed hope.
- with AAP