Civoniceva gets win in 300th NRL game
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Brisbane had to dig deep to pull off a special 26-12 victory against South Sydney for veteran forward Petero Civoniceva in his 300th NRL game at Suncorp Stadium on Friday night.
It was the 165th NRL win of Civoniceva’s career which started against North Sydney in 1998.
The giant forward took the field in a jumper presented to him by former Broncos captain Darren Lockyer who holds the all-time record of 355 NRL games.
When reserve forward Ben Te’o scored Brisbane’s fifth try just before fulltime, Civoniceva was called up to take the conversion.
He pushed it just wide of the left upright.
Down 6-4 at halftime and 12-10 after speedster Nathan Merritt scored an 85-metre intercept off Corey Norman’s loose pass in the 48th minute, Brisbane finished a physical clash stronger than the visitors.
Young five-eighth Norman made amends for his costly pass by scoring in the 65th minute after winger Dale Copley had put Brisbane back in the lead five minutes earlier.
Like Norman, young Copley also atoned for a costly error just before halftime when he should have let an Adam Reynolds grubber kick go dead.
The scoreline didn’t truly indicate the closeness of the contest with Souths duo Michael Croker (42 tackles) and hooker Issac Luke (41) getting through a mountain of defensive work.
Forward Dave Taylor’s statistics of 127 metres from 14 runs to go with 37 tackles and two tackle breaks would have gone down well with Queensland selectors.
Brisbane lock Corey Parker, who played nine days after suffering a nasty leg cut in the second State of Origin game in Sydney, also pushed his claims for Wednesday week’s series decider.
Parker made 133 metres but his eye-catching 54 tackles and four tackle breaks will make it hard for Maroons selectors not to retain him.
Souths fullback Greg Inglis, who put up some monster high balls, appeared bothered by his left arm but still managed to look dangerous whenever he got his hands on the ball.
Civoniceva said he was grateful to his teammates for the win but said if they were honest with themselves they would agree they still had a lot of work to do.
“I’m grateful to the boys for tonight, it’s all nice,” he said, standing with wife Bonnie and their three children after being presented with the match ball by Lockyer.
He said when faced with taking the last kick at goal he instantly recalled Lockyer missing a similar kick from almost in front in his last game for Australia in last year’s Four Nations final.
“I instantly thought of Locky,” he said.
“I had visions of slipping over on my backside so I said to Pete (halfback Peter Wallace) ‘let’s get this done and get out of here’.”© AAP 2013
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