Andrew McCullough of the Brisbane Broncos is lifted by his teammates after scoring a try against the Canberra Raiders.
Andrew McCullough of the Brisbane Broncos is lifted by his teammates after scoring a try against the Canberra Raiders. DAN PELED

Clutch Kahu field goal lifts Broncos over Raiders

AFTER enduring plenty of heartbreak in close games over the last couple of seasons, the Broncos finally found a crunch-time hero, with Jordan Kahu stepping up to settle a locked game in the dying stages with a cool field-goal.

The Raiders threw everything at the home side, producing a spirited late comeback before a handling error down their own end - their kryptonite all night - opened the door for the Broncos to come up with a dagger blow.

They didn't need a second invitation with a quick play the ball early in the set giving Kahu all the time in the world to measure his 30-metre field-goal attempt, which rebounded off the inside of the right upright to give his side a 13-12 lead.

There was time for more drama with the Raiders mounting one last attack, as a faked field-goal attempt from Aidan Sezer opened up space on the right.

The glory play didn't quite come off though, and the Broncos could breathe a sigh of relief as their scramble defence once again came to their rescue and Blake Austin's forced pass hit the deck.

The thrilling one-point victory came just two weeks after another Johnathan Thurston field-goal had broken Broncos hearts and Wayne Bennett had sat in the press conference after the game wondering aloud if Ben Hunt had what it took to grab the game by the scruff of the neck when it was on the line.

This time Kahu didn't wait to see if his No.7 would try to prove a point to his coach, moving infield from his wing to take his side's destiny in his own hands.

After a difficult week for the super coach, finally there was something to smile about.

Hunt may not have provided the match-winning play but he was the inspiration for much of Brisbane's best work as they established the upper hand in the first half, leading the kick chase and smashing Sezer back into his in goal as the Broncos desperately searched for an opener.

It wouldn't come until the second half, with the two sides running up the tunnel at half-time all square at 2-2 as a slugfest developed on a greasy pitch.

When a try did eventually come, it came in fitting fashion as milestone man Andrew McCullough crossed between the sticks in his 200th game.

Always a workhorse, the hooker was one of his side's best, with 59 tackles and some slick work out of dummy half as the Broncos piled on the pressure and took a 12-2 lead when Darius Boyd got outside his man and accelerated to the line for his side's second try.

The home side was coming in for the kill and had two quick chances to bury the Green Machine, but was unable to capitalise as Anthony Milford made two uncharacteristic handling errors in the space of two minutes.

The near misses seemed to awaken something in the Raiders and they were back in it soon after through arguably the most dangerous right edge pair in the competition.

News Corp Australia


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