A controversial golden-point penalty has brought the Wests Tigers’ giant-killing run to an end, after a try-less Brisbane kicked their way to a thrilling 9-7 win at Campbelltown.
The win came after the Bulldogs produced a gutsy win in their first home game for 2018, beating the Penrith Panthers.
Broncos rookie Jamayne Isaako’s cool boot kicked four penalty goals and a field goal to win the match for Brisbane, but the Tigers were furious after a tough extra-time call against Robbie Rochow.
Rochow and Pita Godinet peeled away from a fifth tackle on Joe Ofahengaue on their 30m line with three minutes to play in golden point.
But Rochow was ruled to not be square at marker as he rushed to pressure an attempted field goal from Isaako.
The Broncos winger then iced the penalty shot from in front to win the match.
It capped off a gutsy effort from the Broncos, who entered golden point with just one man on the bench after losing Corey Oates (hip), Tevita Pangai (hamstring) and Sam Thaiday (HIA) during the match.
But it also brought to an end the Tigers’ unbeaten run to the season, after they knocked off the Sydney Roosters and Melbourne in the opening two rounds.
But the match turned when Chris Lawrence was penalised for a second effort on Darius Boyd after an Isaako break in the 75th minute.
Isaako then iced his third penalty goal of the night from 32m out and seven metres in from touch to level the scores at 6-6 with less than five minutes to play.
The winger backed the effort up moments later with a 25m field goal from in front to give the Broncos a 7-6 lead.
However the Tigers still were not done.
After they regathered the ball from the kick-off, Brooks sent home a 20m effort of his own with less than a minute to play to send the game to golden point.
The match marked the first time the Tigers had kept a side try-less since round 13, 2012 against Canberra, but it meant little as Isaako scored all nine of Brisbane’s points.
Bulldogs make winning start at home
The Bulldogs have opened their account for 2018 with a 20-18 victory over the Panthers at the Olympic Stadium.
The previously unbeaten Panthers did their best to set up a hat-trick of unlikely comebacks, but this game was a bridge too far.
Penrith had trailed 14-0 in round one against Parramatta before winning 24-14 — the following week they went behind by the same scoreline before bouncing back to beat Souths 18-14.
Incredibly, Anthony Griffin’s men had a third straight slow start against the Bulldogs.
The Dogs appeared to get the bounce of the ball, but they also put huge pressure on a Penrith side that was down in intensity.
Full-back Moses Mbye went over in the fifth minute, although the Panthers were incensed when the Bunker confirmed the try despite Will Hopoate’s apparent obstruction on James Maloney.
Officials ruled minimum contact, but Panthers captain Peter Wallace complained about the decision to the on-field referees.
The incident is likely to come up in post-round discussions, as it seemed out of kilter with previous decisions in similar situations — if Maloney had gone to ground, the try might have been called back.
The Panthers tried to hit back and were threatening, but an ill-timed floater pass from Nathan Cleary was picked off by Josh Morris and the winger went 90m to score.
By the 17th minute, when Will Hopoate showed strength and composure to ground the ball despite being held by a number of Penrith defenders, the Panthers were 14-0 down yet again.
This time it was five-eighth Maloney who got them on the board, but by the half-hour mark Mbye was in again and the Dogs led 20-6.
The Panthers had only started a season with three wins once in their history, in the Super League season of 1997.
A late try to Dylan Edwards made it 20-12 at the break, and the Panthers looked in range to engineer another victory.
But it wasn’t to be. Penrith had almost 60 per cent of possession, but the Panthers could not make it count.
Too many errors and penalties conceded cruelled their chances.
A spectacular try to Josh Mansour with eight minutes left proved the only score of the second half, and a tiring Bulldogs side held on for their first win.
For the home side, Mbye was the standout at full-back, making big gains and setting up attacks.
To make matters worse for Penrith, Cleary left the game at half-time with a suspected medial ligament injury.
The Panthers could well rue their failure to get the job done, as they have to travel to North Queensland to face the Cowboys in round four, before a chance to do the double over Parramatta at the Olympic stadium.