html,body { border: 0px; }IT WAS small consolation that the Broncos beat Brett Morris, because they did not come close to eclipsing the Dragons. A day after bookmakers opened a head-to-head market on Morris-versus-Brisbane, the Broncos watched on as the prolific Dragons winger posted a brace of first-half tries before eventually coming to life late in the match.Only a late try to Andrew McCullough saved their blushes.By then, however, the match was well and truly in the Dragons’ keep and the Broncos were left to duel Morris. Before the match it looked far-fetched that the Test winger could – with a 5½ start from the bookmakers – score more than the out-of-form Broncos. But it looked like happening for a time, after Morris’s two tries in seven minutes just before half-time.To lose a point-scoring shoot-out with Morris would have been a shame, because Brisbane tried hard and, in truth, were dusted up by a good side, not just by its winger.”It’s not something you want to see,” Morris said of the market. ”Every team tries their hardest. It’s a shame.”The Dragons as a unit probably deserve more credit, too.Fullback Darius Boyd might not score a lot of tries but his ability to set them up is invaluable; ditto hooker Luke Priddis, who put the game out of the Broncos’ reach in the second half with two assists. They came up against the premiers last week and were beaten, but it would be a mistake to think the Dragons will not compete with the Storm. They are a good side, and Boyd has become a key.”I think he’s more happy to set them up than score them,” Morris said of him. ”If he wants to do that, I’m quite happy to receive the ball.”The Broncos are keen but their inexperience eventually told. They aimed up, particularly Sam Thaiday, who was especially energetic, hoping to wrestle the club out of its mini-slump by himself. He huffed and puffed and bent the defensive line on many occasions, but when it came time to blowing the house down, the Dragons were made of brick.”A lot of people have been writing us off and putting the boot in right now,” Brisbane coach Ivan Henjak said. ”OK, we have to live with that. But you take some of the guys out of other teams, like we’ve had to suffer over the last three or four weeks, I don’t know whether they’d have the same result. They took some steps forward. They’ve got a way to go, but there were some real positives with those kids â?¦ if they keep playing like they did, and putting the effort in, I know they’ll dig their way out of it.”For much of the first half, the Broncos held their opponents, even after scoring early through Beau Scott, who was given an excitable State of Origin endorsement by Wendell Sailor at half-time. Sailor, the retired Dragons (and Broncos) winger, said Scott hit as hard as anyone, including Tonie Carroll, and would put fear into the Queenslanders.On this occasion, he showed he is not just a defensive centre by bagging the Dragons’ first try off Jeremy Smith’s short ball.Brisbane hit back after 14 minutes, with Dale Copley straightening after a quick and crisp movement. Then the mistakes started coming. Not just by the Broncos, either. First it was video referee Sean Hampstead, who ruled that Matt Cooper had obstructed fresh air when Morris ran in for what should have been his first try. Centre Cooper cut back inside as Boyd ran behind him – well behind him. But if we start denying tries when no one is obstructed then we are in trouble.If referees’ boss Robert Finch finds a way to say that Boyd ran behind the ball carrier and Gerard Beale was obstructed, the rules need changing. It should not be a crime to put a defender in two minds. That is the point of a decoy.”That bordered on ludicrous,” Dragons coach Wayne Bennett said.The point of Morris, meanwhile, is to score tries, and he should have had one there. But no matter. Just three minutes later, he found the line more directly and the officials could find nothing to deny him. And again, just on half-time, which was the killer. Morris scored again from another Boyd assist and the game was gone.ST GEORGE ILLAWARRA 34 (B Morris 2, B Hornby, J Nightingale, B Scott, D Young tries; J Soward 5 goals) bt BRISBANE 16 (D Copley, J Hoffman, A McCullough tries; P Wallace 2 goals) at WIN Stadium. Referees: M Cecchin, A Klein.Crowd: 15,374.
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