Broncos enjoy winning start to new era - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Broncos enjoy winning start to new era

By Laine Clark 14/03/2009 01:13:28 AM Comments (0)

The last time Peter Wallace kicked a winning field goal at Suncorp Stadium the crowd booed.

But it would be fair to say the majority of the 45,022 fans were smiling after the Broncos halfback's latest effort.

Certainly rookie Brisbane coach Ivan Henjak was.

Almost two years after Wallace's boot clinched a miraculous golden point win for Penrith over a distraught Broncos at the Brisbane venue, the ginger-haired playmaker again stood tall.

This time to seal a heart-stopping 19-18 NRL season opening win for the Broncos over North Queensland.

"It was at the same end too (as the round three 2007 match). But I was on the right side (team) this time," Wallace laughed.

The four-tries-to-three win ensured life after Wayne Bennett began successfully for Henjak - but hardly smoothly.

Even poker-faced Bennett would have looked tense as the Cowboys stormed back from 14-6 down in the 46th minute to roar to an 18-14 buffer by the 57th.

Henjak's blood pressure stabilised somewhat when rookie Jharal Yow Yeh proved more slippery than his name's pronunciation to crash down the right sideline in the 65th minute.

Last minute Broncos inclusion Steve Michaels appeared to have scored the matchwinner in the 72nd, only to be denied after replays showed he dropped the ball over the line.

But just as the NRL season looked set to start with the second straight golden point game, Wallace put tense Broncos fans out of their misery - including Henjak - by kicking truly from about 30m in the 77th minute.

"Yeah, it wasn't too bad, eh," Henjak laughed when asked about his first NRL game at the helm.

"I actually enjoyed the game. A couple of times I was on the edge of my seat, but it was an enjoyable game."

Besides the coach, the new-look home side boasted seven players making their debut for Brisbane including prized signing Israel Folau.

Youngsters Antonio Winterstein (46th) and Yow Yeh repaid Henjak's faith by scoring on debut while Folau took just six minutes to make an impact, crashing over after wonderful lead-up work from Darren Lockyer and Karmichael Hunt.

But for Cowboys captain Johnathan Thurston it appeared like business as usual at the Broncos despite the sweeping changes.

"We did a fair bit of homework on them. But weight of possession told in the end. Wallace's field goal under pressure - that was the difference," Thurston said.

However, it looked like it was just like old times for the Cowboys as well.

Thurston - fit and fresh after yet more off-season surgery - picked up where he left off in attack with livewire fullback Matt Bowen, playing his first game since May 2008.

Bowen showed his knee - which underwent radical surgery last year - worked alright when he came from nowhere to snaffle up a Thurston banana kick in the 57th minute to give the Cowboys the lead.

The Broncos led 10-6 at halftime after tries to Corey Parker (27th) and Folau (6th) countered Cowboys recruit Willie Tonga's 13th minute effort.

The NRL needed a feel good story ever since David Gallop first rang Manly to see how their season launch went.

And the Queensland arch rivals duly delivered on Friday night.

Brought to you by AAP AAP © 2022 AAP

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