Norman delivers as Dragons break Bronco hearts
After weeks of criticism over his place in the team and his contribution, St George Illawarra five-eighth Corey Norman landed a matchwinning field goal with just six seconds remaining of a thrilling match at Suncorp Stadium.
Norman's flash of brilliance gave Saints a 25-24 win - the club's first victory of the season.
"It was good, sweet. Geez, we needed this win," Norman said. "We've been copping plenty of criticism, especially with the rotation of our spine."
Dragons forward Korbin Sims said: "Corey Norman, it was a clutch play there at the end."
Broncos skipper Darius Boyd offered no excuses.
"It was just disappointing in the end," said Boyd, whose Broncos have now won just one of three games.
Saints' elation was tempered by what appears to be another serious injury to skipper Gareth Widdop, who left the field late in the game after again dislocating shoulder.
Widdop landed on his left shoulder attempting to tidy up a kick but had to drop the ball in pain, gifting Brisbane's Jack Bird a try to level the scores at 24-all.
It was the same shoulder he dislocated in August last year in a match against Parramatta.
IT was A for Alex and A for awesome.
Korbin Sims scored a powerhouse solo try to bury former club Brisbane.
It came seven months after brother Tariq scored three tries to bundle Brisbane out of the 2018 finals series.
Korbin went through and past four defenders to score a crunching, crash-bang try.
He jumped up elated and gave an A signal with his fingers for the cameras. It was directed at his good mate, former NRL star Alex McKinnon, who is a quadriplegic.
This was a heartwarming gesture.
"I was a little surprised I got over," Korbin said. "I tried my bum off, that's what the Red V will get out of me this year. The boys really ripped in."
Sims's try broke an 18-all deadlock. Sims played for Brisbane last year but his try last night broke the hearts of former teammates.
Korbin and Tariq ripped in together. They have fire and power.
Not brilliant - but getting better.
The maligned Saints spine looked strong at times. It's not all smooth but things are looking brighter.
Dragons coach Paul McGregor made a surprise selection choice pre-game by dropping star utility Matt Dufty from his bench.
With centre Tim Lafai carrying a hamstring injury, McGregor promoted Zac Lomax to the bench as cover. Lomax didn't come on until late.
"We've had a couple under an injury cloud," McGregor said. "We get good cover in wing and centre through bringing in Zac. No other reason.
Widdop started at fullback, Norman at five-eighth, Ben Hunt at halfback.
"I'd have Widdop at five-eighth," said Immortal, Andrew Johns.
Noman moved back to fullback late in the first half with Widdop into the front line.
Any suggestion of moving Hunt to hooker may have been snuffed out by Cameron McInnes, who scored a lovely 42m solo try.
Saints were still with injured Tyson Frizell, while Jack de Belin remains suspended.
Dragons winger Mikaele Ravalawa cost his side try with a first-half mistake but scored his first NRL try in the second half.
Before the game, former Test forward Mark Geyer claimed Pangai was the "hottest prospect" since Sonny Bill Williams.
There are suggestions at least 12 clubs are ready to bid for Pangai, who comes off contract after this season.
Pangai was strong again, although not quite as dominant as the previous week against North Queensland.
He is making it almost impossible to be overlooked by NSW coach Brad Fittler.
BIRD AND ROBERTS
The two Brisbane centres - Jack Bird and James Roberts - are true Blues.
Both have represented NSW and both want more Origin.
Roberts looked to be bothered at times by tendinitis but scored a 90m try untouched.
"He does bring the crowd to their feet," NSW coach Brad Fittler said.
Bird finally looks fit and has rediscovered his power running game. He is looking like an $800,000-a-season player after a disappointing 2018 with Brisbane.
He left Brisbane for Saints last year on a deal worth around $1 million a season. He always plays Brisbane under scrutiny.
Hunt came from right to left at first receiver to set up the second try for winger Jordan Pereira.
He showed several glimpse of brilliance in the first half and exploited some dubious defence on the Broncos' left edge.
ST GEORGE ILLAWARRA 25 (C McInnes J Pereira M Ravalawa K Sims tries G Widdop 4 goals C Norman field goal) bt BRISBANE 24 (J Bird A Glenn C Oates J Roberts tries J Isaako 4 goals) at Suncorp Stadium. Referee: Ben Cummins, Ziggy Przeklasa-Adamski. Crowd: 21,081