Star Gold Coast forward David Fifita has sustained a partial tear of his pectoral and is in doubt for round one of the NRL…
Ali Brigginshaw has breathed life back into Brisbane’s NRLW season before suffering a suspected broken nose in the Broncos’ crucial 40-8 win over Canberra at Langlands Park.
Teetering outside the top four and at risk of missing the finals for the second straight season, Brigginshaw stood up to help Brisbane to their third win of the year.
The win kept Brisbane fifth on the ladder, two points outside the top-four with three rounds to play.
And it was Brigginshaw who came up with the big moments against a Raiders side who had won four straight games before Sunday.
After Canberra led 8-0 early through two unconverted tries, Brigginshaw swung the momentum of the match when she took it upon herself to run the ball in the halves.
The Brisbane veteran dummied and stepped her way through from 35 metres out, before sending Shenae Ciesiolka over to reduce the margin to two.
And after Brisbane took the lead through the fit-again Julia Robinson just before halftime, it was Brigginshaw who again stood up after the break.
The 33-year-old got into dummy-half and forced her way over in the 42nd minute, giving the Broncos a 16-8 lead, an advantage they never surrendered.
The only concern for Brigginshaw and the hosts was a head clash with seven minutes to play.
The Jillaroos co-captain passed a head injury assessment but will now need to overcome her nose injury to face sixth-placed Cronulla next Saturday.
“We have our backs to the wall,” Broncos coach Scott Prince said. “We had two choices. Stand there or do something about it. We’re going to get that all through the season. We have to win. We put ourselves in a position and we have to get ourselves out of it.”
Winger Lauren Dam also bagged a second-half double in the win, while five-eighth Gayle Broughton scored one try and had a hand in another with a long cut-out pass.
In Sunday’s second game, Newcastle withstood a late surge from Cronulla to score a 22-14 win at McDonald Jones Stadium that dents the Sharks’ finals hopes.
Cronulla were down 10-0 after nine minutes and 22-0 after 45 but finally began to capitalise on the Knights’ errors in the second half and stormed back into the contest with three unanswered tries.
Forced onto the left wing after Andie Robinson left injured, prop Chloe Saunders was an unlikely try-scorer when she crashed over for the Sharks’ third and a 22-14 scoreline.
But Tayla Preston couldn’t make the sideline kick that would have made it a one-score game and the Knights held on to consolidate second spot.
Cronulla were left to wonder what could have been if Tiana Penitani had not been ruled to have obstructed Jesse Southwell in the lead-up to a potential try from Talei Holmes.
“I had no idea that Jesse Southwell was actually there. I was pushing up on the inside of my winger to potentially be an option so I disagreed with the call,” Penitani said.
“But we’ve just got to get on with it.
“I was really proud of the girls, how we fought back.”
The Sharks are now two wins off the top four with three rounds left, so must beat Brisbane next week to retain hope of a finals berth.
In Saturday’s action, A last-minute field goal for Gold Coast’s Lauren Brown has won her side a thrilling NRLW encounter against St George Illawarra 23-22, despite a stunning four-try outing from Dragons fullback Teagan Berry.
Brown’s 30m effort – her second match-winning field goal of the season – sunk a brilliant Dragons fightback, where Berry’s heroics carried them from 14-0 down into a grandstand finish.
Berry, who’s already the NRLW’s all-time leading try-scorer, grabbed a share of the all-time record for most tries in a match, her fourth a stunning effort three minutes from time to tie the scores at 22-22.
Brown, who had three try assists in an impressive display, slotted the single-pointer with precision, taking her side to 4-2 for the season in their fight for finals.
The Titans led 14-0 early behind tries for Jaime Chapman, Evania Pelite and Jessika Elliston, but three Berry efforts including a 95m kick return rubbed that advantage out.
Chapman’s second, a powerful surge through the middle of the field, and an easy finish for winger Karina Brown had them closing in on victory before Berry and Brown traded their late blows.
Earlier, Parramatta broke through for their first win of the season with winger Kimberley Hunt collecting a try double in a hard-fought 16-12 victory over North Queensland.
The Eels had to withstand a fightback from the Cowboys, who scored two late tries to roar back from 14-0 down.
Last year’s losing grand-finalists, Parramatta have had a miserable start to the season, winless through five rounds to sit at the bottom of the ladder.
But they held their nerve to hang on and secure the win at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium.
Hunt overcame a shaky start to score a try in each half, with both tries coming off the boot of halfback Rachael Pearson.
The Cowboys looked down and out until debutante Libby Surha charged over the line in the 59th minute, followed by Tiana Raftstrand-Smith two minutes later to set up a thrilling finale.
Hunt’s first try came at the 32nd minute mark when Pearson produced a precision cross-field kick, with the winger diving across in the corner.
Straight after halftime the pair combined again with Pearson putting up a kick over the head of Cowboys winger Krystall Blackwell for Hunt to collect her second.
North Queensland, who sit one spot above the Eels in ninth spot, were denied an early try by China Polata after the bunker ruled obstruction.
Hunt missed out on another opportunity when a long pass from Mahalia Murphy to the waiting winger went forward.
Second-rower Murphy opened the scoring in the 20th minute with the Test rugby union star dragging three defenders over the line.