Celtic Crusaders 6 Brisbane Broncos 32: Crusaders' commitment fails to rein in Broncos
Friday 16 February 2007
The Broncos limbered up for their World Club Challenge against St Helens next Friday, but their National League Two opponents had nothing to reproach themselves for in front of about 2,000 - the biggest crowd in the club's short history - at Bridgend last night.
The Crusaders competed throughout and were level shortly before half-time, until a star-studded Brisbane side started to click into gear.
"It served its purpose," said the Brisbane captain Darren Lockyer. "We were a bit rusty, so it was better that we got it out of the way tonight."
Considering the vastly different levels at which these two sides play, the Crusaders' did alarmingly well in the first quarter, holding their illustrious visitors scoreless and even threatening to cross the try line themselves on a couple of occasions.
The inevitable began to take shape after 20 minutes when Shane Perry found a gap and Lockyer, who has so often played against more exalted opposition, was there in support to score the Broncos' first try. Far from deflating the Crusaders, that try saw them lift the game and claim a well-deserved equaliser 11 minutes later.
Mark Dalle Cort did the initial damage down the left and one of the side's promising local products, Grant Epton, took his pass on the wing and cut inside to score a try that he is unlikely to forget.
It was three minutes before half-time and the Broncos finally got their noses in front again thanks to a wayward pass scooped up by another of their Australian internationals, Justin Hodges. Michael Ennis' conversion put them six points up at the break, but that represented a remarkable effort by the home side.
The Crusaders' willingness to put their bodies on the line was typified by Tony Duggan's tackle on the rampaging Sam Thaiday at the start of the second half. Unfortunately a Brisbane team who were starting to find their rhythm kept the ball alive for Lockyer to send in Steve Michaels.
Some dazzling handling produced a fourth Broncos try from the Australian Test full-back Karmichael Hunt, as the visitors' quality started to show.
Even then, a sweeping move initiated by Luke Young could have brought a reply, but instead Michaels got his second for the Broncos, thanks to a break by Hodges and a fortunate bounce when he released the ball.
The Crusaders were still working hard but there was nothing they could do about a flowing move that yielded a try for yet another of the Broncos' Test stars, Brent Tate.
"I can't fault their commitment to the task against pretty formidable opposition," said Crusaders' coach, John Dixon, who was once assistant coach at Brisbane. "There were some very positive signs there for us and Brisbane got what they wanted out of it as well."
Celtic Crusaders: Duggan; Epton, Dalle Cort, Blackwood, Richards; Young, Van Dijk; Cale, Budworth, Beam, Wyatt, Mapp, Quinn. Substitutes used: Toshack, Fitzgerald, l'Anson, H Davies, Cushion, Ballard, G Davies, Johnston, Jones, Boothroyd.
Bristol Broncos: Hunt; Boyd, Tate, Hodges, Tupou; Lockyer, Perry; Thaiday, Berrigan, Scivoniceva, Parker, Thorn, Carroll. Substitutes used: Carlaw, Eastwood, Hannant, Ennis, Michaels.
Referee: R Silverwood (Mirfield).
Latest in Sport
Kevin Garside: Manchester United may have history and tradition but, as David Moyes never realised, a big-time manager always bends such things to his will
Louis van Gaal denies problem with Wilfried Zaha despite Manchester United forward being given no game time
Calum Chambers: Who is Arsenal's £16m right-back target?
Manchester United latest: Angel Di Maria move no closer as Juan Mata emerges as Louis van Gaal's favoured No 10 as prospect of signing
Arsenal transfer news: Versatile Calum Chambers is a 'gamble', admits Arsene Wenger as Arsenal spending passes £50m
- 1 Secret Cinema: Why were Back to the Future screenings cancelled?
- 2 Christians: The world's most persecuted people
- 3 The secret report that helps Israelis to hide facts
- 4 Ross Burden dead: MasterChef and Ready Steady Cook star, dies aged 45
The secret report that helps Israelis to hide facts
A day in the life of Vladimir Putin: The dictator in his labyrinth
Were 'Poor Doors' added to mixed developments so wealthy residents don't have to go in alongside social housing tenants?
Arizona execution lasts two hours as killer Joseph Wood left 'snorting and gasping' for air
A new Russian revolution: The cracks are starting to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Opponents of Israel's military operation in Gaza are the real enemies of Middle Eastern peace