The Sydney Roosters have broken Brisbane hearts by snatching a last-gasp 30-26 NRL win at Suncorp Stadium on Friday night.
On a night that always seemed set to end in tears for Brisbane, the Sydney Roosters still made the Broncos suffer by emerging 30-26 NRL winners at Suncorp Stadium.
There were few dry eyes in the stadium on Friday night when ex-winger Jharal Yow Yeh officially bid farewell to the 33,381-strong crowd after finally succumbing to an horrific ankle fracture suffered in 2012.
The Broncos produced a guard of honour for Yow Yeh before the former Queensland Origin flyer delivered a heartfelt speech to the Brisbane faithful.
It seemed only something special would cheer Brisbane up after Yow Yeh brought closure to his brave decision this week to leave the game.
And for a moment, the Broncos thought they had produced it, leading 26-18 over the defending premiers with seven minutes left on the clock.
However, the Roosters hit back before a sublime Mitchell Pearce pass set up the match-winner to a barnstorming Boyd Cordner in the dying minutes to snap Brisbane’s unbeaten season start.
In another special touch, Brisbane had “retired” Yow Yeh’s No.5 jersey for the night ensuring winger Lachlan Maranta wore No.18.
But Maranta grabbed the limelight when hooker Andrew McCullough and halfback Ben Hunt sent him crashing over to blow the Broncos’ lead out to 18-12 in the 55th minute.
However, scores were locked up again when barnstorming centre Shaun Kenny-Dowall crashed over nine minutes later despite a hint of obstruction in the lead-up.
Brisbane again looked to have grabbed the match by the scruff when Jack Reed crossed and Hunt sealed a double to make it 26-18.
Then Roger Tuivasa-Sheck crossed in the 75th minute before Cordner strolled over to silence the crowd.
The only worry for Roosters coach Trent Robinson was interchange forward Kane Evans being placed on report for a first-half high shot on Broncos backrower Matt Gillett.
After looking the better side for all but the final five minutes, Brisbane appeared to have earned a big fan – Robinson.
“I enjoy watching them,” he said.
“They are a good side. The Broncos have a nice balance and the ability to play some good football.
“They are a threat, they certainly have some good footy in them.
“With Hunt and (Josh) Hoffman and Daniel Vidot, there is some strike there. They tested our edges and got us tonight.”
Meanwhile, Broncos coach Anthony Griffin dipped his hat to a side that was without frontline forwards Ben Hannant (hamstring) and Josh McGuire (suspension).
“We finished with a bad taste in our mouth,” he said.
“We were better than last week, but that’s why they are the premiers.
“We just weren’t good enough to withstand that type of pressure.”
Griffin saluted halfback Hunt who looked to be finally benefiting from extra work at training from assistant Allan Langer.
“It (Friday night’s display) didn’t surprise me. That’s what he can do,” he said.