Is this the Broncos’ greatest matchwinner?

 

From a series of thrilling comebacks to encounters that turned into total annihilations, Brisbane have been involved in some of the NRL's greatest matches in the past five years.

In part two of Broncos Week, veteran Broncos forward Alex Glenn recalls the moment he was "going berserk" on the sidelines as he watched Jamayne Isaako earn his nickname "The Iceman" as he sealed a 28-22 comeback win over the Sydney Roosters in 2018.

If that wasn't good enough, he got one over legendary Queensland halfback Cooper Cronk to do it.

READ PART I: Walters reveals: Broncos' greatest rivalries and why JT is GOAT

"At 22-all, Jamayne was setting up for the field goal," Glenn said.

"He got rushed on, so he turned on the individual brilliance to step his way through to score.

"I remember him slipping past Cooper Cronk and on the sidelines we were going berserk."

That is one of several Broncos victories that remain forever etched in Glenn's mind.

 

 

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GAME 1

Round 22, 2017 at Cbus Super Stadium

Broncos 54 (Ben Hunt 3, Kodi Nikorima 2, Corey Oates 2, Anthony Milford, Josh McGuire, James Roberts tries; Jordan Kahu 6, Milford goals) d Titans 0.

The Broncos were in disarray heading into this Titans derby. In-form hooker Andrew McCullough snapped his ACL the previous week against the Eels, leaving Brisbane scrambling for a new No.9 just a month out from the finals.

Enter Ben Hunt. Brisbane's first-choice halfback selflessly agreed to shift to hooker and he made an instant impact against the Gold Coast. Starting from the bench after coach Wayne Bennett pulled a late positional switch, Hunt was injected into the game around the 20-minute mark and he ignited the Broncos' attack. He carved up the Titans around the rucks to record just the second hat-trick of his career in a 10-try demolition of the Coast.

The Broncos cemented their big brother status against the Titans in their 2017 massacre at Cbus Super Stadium in Robina. Picture: AAP Image/Dave Hunt
The Broncos cemented their big brother status against the Titans in their 2017 massacre at Cbus Super Stadium in Robina. Picture: AAP Image/Dave Hunt

 

The win sealed Brisbane's place in the top four for the 2017 finals.

"I remember that game quite clearly," said current Broncos skipper Alex Glenn, who started at hooker in tandem with Hunt.

"Being a Gold Coast boy myself, it's always one of my favourite games playing the Titans at Cbus.

"You always get a good feel when your key playmakers are on and 'Dozer' (Hunt) was on fire that night.

"Ben is always someone I want in my team because he is such a competitor. Him getting a hat-trick was a reward for all the work he put in. He was in the right spot at the right time and it was a good trip home that night."

 

 

 

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GAME 2

Round 11, 2018 at Suncorp Stadium

Broncos 28 (Jamayne Isaako 2, Corey Oates, James Roberts, Kotoni Staggs tries; Isaako 4 goals) d Roosters 22 (Luke Keary 2, Boyd Cordner, Isaac Liu tries; Latrell Mitchell 3 goals).

What a thriller. The Broncos looked gone, trailing 22-16 with just seven minutes left on the clock when Brisbane backline duo James Roberts and Jamayne Isaako lit up Suncorp Stadium.

With the Broncos getting desperate, the ball was flung to Roberts 70 metres out from the Roosters tryline.

 

 

'The Jet' took off, scorching down the touchline and beating five Roosters defenders in a sizzling solo effort that levelled the scores at 22-all.

Then Isaako landed the knockout blow. With just two minutes remaining, 'The Iceman' shaped for a field goal, but after being swarmed upon, he spotted a gap in the Roosters defence and went for it, charging towards the tryline and crashing over to send Suncorp into delirium.

Jamayne Isaako scores the matchwinner against the Roosters. Picture: AAP Image/Dan Peled
Jamayne Isaako scores the matchwinner against the Roosters. Picture: AAP Image/Dan Peled

"I was actually injured for the this game and watching it from the sidelines," Glenn said.

"We always have some cracking games against the Roosters, they are always in the top four with stars across the field.

"Our preparation going into the game was intense. That game came to the wire. There was a great battle in the middle. At 22-all, both teams were going for field goals and then Jamayne was setting up for the field goal.

"He got rushed on, so he turned on the individual brilliance to step his way through to score.

"I remember him slipping past Cooper Cronk (Roosters halfback) and on the sidelines we were going berserk. It was a great moment."

 

 

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GAME 3

Round 25, 2018 at Suncorp Stadium

Broncos 48 (Corey Oates 4, Jamayne Isaako, Kodi Nikorima, Joe Ofahengaue, James Roberts tries; Isaako 8 goals) d Manly 16 (Shaun Lane, Brad Parker, Jake Trbojevic tries; Daly Cherry-Evans, Trent Hodkinson goals).

This was a crucial game for the Broncos. Entering the final regular-season game in seventh spot, the Broncos had to beat Manly convincingly to secure fifth place and a home semi-final at Suncorp the following week.

The Sea Eagles were strong early and the first-half was tense, with Brisbane heading to halftime ahead 20-10. But after the break, the Broncos hit overdrive, with Corey Oates at the centre of the massacre, the towering winger scoring four tries in a match for the first time in his career.

 

It was the Corey Oates show against the Sea Eagles. Picture: AAP Image/Dave Hunt
It was the Corey Oates show against the Sea Eagles. Picture: AAP Image/Dave Hunt

 

He became the seventh Bronco in history to score four tries in one match, joining Steve Renouf, Wendell Sailor, Karmichael Hunt, Justin Hodges, Denan Kemp and Israel Folau.

"'Oatesy' had a day out," Glenn said.

"He was so strong that season finishing tries for us. It was an afternoon game at Suncorp Stadium and Anthony Milford had a blinder that day on the same side as Oatesy.

"The best try was when 'Milf' picked up the ball, made a linebreak and put a kick through for Oatesy. The ball bounced so high only someone with Oatesy's height could have grabbed it. That game clinched a home final for us so it was a big win."

 

 

 

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GAME 4

Round 21, 2019 at 1300 Smiles Stadium

Broncos 18 (David Fifita, Anthony Milford, Jake Turpin tries; Jamayne Isaako 3 goals) d Cowboys 14 (Jake Clifford, Shane Wright tries; Clifford 3 goals).

It wasn't pretty, but the Broncos just scraped home in another classic Cowboys derby.

Brisbane entered the round 21 clash in 10th spot and were fighting for their finals lives. The match was an arm-wrestle, with both sides heading to halftime locked 6-all. With 10 minutes to play, the game was still deadlocked at 12-all when Broncos prop Payne Haas was penalised, allowing Jake Clifford to slot a penalty for a crucial 14-12 lead.

 

 

 

The Broncos looked gone. There were 60 seconds to play. Then Brisbane got one final crack at the Cowboys tryline and Jake Turpin was the hero, swooping on an offload to steal victory and keep their slim finals hopes alive.

"I was injured again for this one, so I was sitting in the coach's box with 'Seibs' (Anthony Seibold) and it was very tense in there," Glenn said.

"We had so many opportunities, but we kept coughing up the ball. It was a miracle play that got us out of jail. We got a penalty and we had trained for one particular set play. Joe Ofahengaue did this no-look offload that popped up into Tuprin's hands and he was over under the posts. That kept us alive and in the finals hunt. If our defence wasn't on that night, we wouldn't have won."

 

 

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GAME 5

 

Round 24, 2019 at Suncorp Stadium

Broncos 17 (Darius Boyd, David Fifita tries; Jamayne Isaako four goals, Isaako field goal) d Eels 16 (Kane Evans, Blake Ferguson, Maika Sivo tries; Mitchell Moses 2 goals).

The drama continued for the Broncos in their quest for the 2019 finals. Having sneaked past the Cowboys, Brisbane and the Eels fought out a cracker at Suncorp two weeks before the playoffs.

Brisbane clung to a 16-10 lead, but when Eels prop Kane Evans crashed over for 16-all, it set up a furious final four minutes. Both sides had shots at field goal, with one from Isaako hitting the upright just seconds before full-time.

But in extra-time, The Iceman stepped up again, drilling the one-pointer to seal Brisbane's finals campaign.

 

David Fifita changed the game against the Eels at Suncorp. Picture: AAP Image/Dave Hunt
David Fifita changed the game against the Eels at Suncorp. Picture: AAP Image/Dave Hunt

 

"It was one of those games where we felt gone. It was who wanted it badly enough," Glenn said.

"This game was a bash-up in midfield. We were up 16-10 but then they scored in the dying minutes to send it to extra-time. In the huddle, we were receiving the ball, so I said let's march down the field and lock them down in their own half. Then David Fifita changed the game, he made this massive 40-metre run to set up a field goal and The Iceman iced the game for us.

"It's always extra special when you win a tight game and that got us into the finals."

 

 

 

 

 

Originally published as Is this the Broncos' greatest matchwinner?