A SOLO Jamayne Isaako try has clinched a late 28-22 victory for Brisbane in a seesawing NRL battle with the Sydney Roosters.
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With scores locked 22-22, Isaako shaped to kick a field goal before weaving his way to the line for a sensational matchwinner for his injury-hit side. His try capped an incredible back and forth contest, highlighted by the showdown between NSW Origin centre hopefuls, James Roberts and Latrell Mitchell. Roberts used sheer speed to beat five to put the Broncos level with seven minutes to play after Mitchell had tormented him in a devastating first half display.
Incumbent Queensland forward Dylan Napa was sin-binned in a frenzied finish after felling Korbin Sims and will face a nervous wait at the judiciary after offering an early plea last week.
The hyped showdown between potential Queensland hookers Andrew McCullough and Jake Friend was unremarkable but the clash of centres more than made up for it. In another example of his State of Origin readiness, Mitchell toyed with Roberts to set up two first-half tries and look dangerous every time he touched the ball.
Roberts joked earlier this week that he still had the 20-year-old’s palm print on his chest from a fend in last year’s finals series.
He added to that show reel by brushing Roberts aside to usher the Roosters’ first try for Luke Keary 12 minutes in, while an accidental knee to Roberts’ groin completed a forgettable first 40 minutes for the Broncos speedster. He responded well, though, setting up Isaako for a four-pointer 10 minutes into the second stanza that reinstalled the host’s lead.
Again the Roosters had a reply, Isaac Liu bumping off McCullough beside the posts for a 18-16 lead entering the final 15 minutes before Boyd Cordner pounced on a Keary grubber to put Sydney ahead 22-16 with 13 minutes to play. Debutant Kotoni Staggs was thrust into the action after just three minutes, replacing a groggy Tom Opacic after he copped a knee while tackling Blake Ferguson.
His try and assist helped the Broncos, missing five regulars through injury, stay in the hunt before Roberts and Isaako powered them home. The win puts both sides level on 12 points, with 6-5 records entering the Origin period.