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Broncos coach riding a rollercoaster

By Laine Clark 13/09/2009 10:15:47 AM Comments (0)

If Brisbane coach Ivan Henjak had hair he probably would have pulled it out.

The chrome-domed coach has ridden an emotional rollercoaster in his first year at the Broncos helm.

But it still didn't help prepare him for Brisbane's thrilling 40-32 NRL qualifying final victory over arch rivals the Gold Coast Titans at Skilled Park on Saturday night.

After the Broncos rolled to a 30-10 lead early in the second half, the match was turned on its head as the Titans scored four of the next five tries to trail 34-32 with eight minutes left on the clock.

"It got a bit scary, didn't it?" Henjak smiled.

"We were in good control of that game but full credit to the Titans, they never gave up, they kept coming at us."

But thankfully for the Broncos, prop Dave Taylor also kept coming.

The hulking frontrower lived up to the hype - once again - by plucking a Scott Prince pass out of thin air to bolt almost 30m and score the match-winner.

"We were hanging on for dear life for a while there," Broncos captain Darren Lockyer said.

While the finish didn't help Henjak's blood pressure, he took solace in the fact the Broncos didn't capitulate.

Certainly the dark days of six weeks ago when the Broncos trudged off Canberra Stadium on the wrong end of a 56-0 scoreline must seem like a lifetime ago for Henjak.

"It takes a lot of character to lose momentum like that and get back into the fight and hold your nerve," Henjak said.

"I was pleased with the way they kept fighting.

"Six weeks ago I don't think we would have had that in us."

It was the sixth straight win for the Broncos, who could host a home final next week depending on other results.

A try-scoring double to Israel Folau set up a 28-10 halftime lead for the Broncos.

And when Corey Parker potted over a penalty in the 43rd minute it looked like it was a matter of "how much" for the visitors.

Enter Titans winger Kevin "Flash" Gordon.

In a rare blemish for Peter Wallace, the Broncos halfback threw a precision pass while attacking the Titans line - straight to Gordon.

The youngster lived up to his nickname and raced 90m untouched to make it 30-14 and suddenly the Gold Coast had a sniff.

"I thought the turning point was that intercept they got - that had a big bearing in swinging the game," Henjak said.

It was the first of three telling intercepts in the match.

The next went to Folau, who completed his hat-trick by gobbling up a Luke Bailey offload to make it 34-26 in the 63rd minute.

But it was Taylor's which proved the difference.

"He's a handful Dave," Lockyer said in a major understatement.

Henjak said he wasn't concerned with Wallace being placed on report in the fifth minute for a high shot on Titans winger David Mead.

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