Brisbane scraped home for a 16-14 NRL win over Wests Tigers at Campbelltown Stadium on Saturday night on the back of a dubious late call from referee Gavin Badger.
With the scores locked at 14-14 in the 77th minute, Badger ruled that Tigers winger Pat Richards held back Lachlan Maranta after a Dale Copley break, when Copley’s pass to the Broncos’ flanker appeared to go forward and the play had all but died when Richards made his play.
It was a tough call for Wests and Ben Hunt’s successful penalty kick was the difference between the two sides.
The home side pressed for a win in the seconds before fulltime after a Ben Barba knock-on on his goalline, but a Luke Brooks inside ball was pounced on by Jack Reed as the siren sounded.
With both sides minus their State of Origin stars – Robbie Farah for the Tigers and Justin Hodges and Corey Parker for the Broncos – Corey Oates opened the scoring for the visitors in the sixth minute from a Ben Hunt short ball 10m out.
Hunt converted for a 6-0 lead – the only points of a poor first half from both teams that was littered with handling errors.
Brooks took command of the match after the break with his kicking game and two of his kicks led to tries for Wests in the 42nd and 59th minutes.
The rookie halfback kicked for himself three times to ground the ball just short of the deadball line in a great individual try, two minutes after the break.
Brooks then kicked off his non-preferred right foot in the 59th minute for Bodene Thompson to touch down.
Richards’ second conversion, after a Hunt penalty in the 46th minute, put the Tigers ahead for the first time in the match.
Oates crossed for his second in the 63rd minute after Maranta offloaded a Hunt kick for the Broncos to wrestle back the ascendancy 14-12 with 15 minutes left.
A 43m Richards penalty tied the scores up again in the 68th minute at 14-14.
After only 6456 fans saw the Tigers beat North Queensland in April, a near-sellout crowd of 16,511 was a boost to the joint venture after they committed midweek to playing NRL games at the venue for four more years.