Brisbane Broncos halted Canterbury Bulldogs’ two-game winning streak with a competent 28-6 victory.
In a historic game, featuring a female referee for the first time in Belinda Sharpe (below), the Broncos were led ably by Kotoni Staggs who scored his first career double.
The Broncos had the better of the opening exchanges and Staggs opened the scoring with a penalty before scoring a try off Jamayne Isaako’s offload.
But a ball steal from Adam Elliott set up the position for Brandon Wakeham to score the Bulldogs’ first try. They then levelled the game through Nick Meaney’s penalty but would go in at the break behind when Tevita Pangai Jnr’s offload led to Isaako crossing for a try.
Staggs kicked another penalty after half-time before the Broncos extended their lead to 16-6 through a try for Corey Oates, created by Darius Boyd.
Then Staggs’ second try pulled his side clear after Wakeham had stripped Matt Lodge of the ball but turned it over only seconds later.
Staggs added another penalty before Andrew McCullough, on his 250th NRL appearances, slotted a conversion from right in front after Oates was awarded a penalty try.
Broncos: Milford, Oates, Staggs, Fifita, Isaako, Boyd, Turpin, Lodge, McCullough, Haas, Glenn, Pangai Jnr, Flegler; Interchanges: Segeyaro, Ofahengaue, Carrigan, Kennedy
Tries: Staggs 2, Isaako, Oates 2; Goals: Staggs 3, McCullough
On report: Staggs (30) – raising the knee
Bulldogs: Watene-Zelezniak, Meaney, Montoya, Hopoate, R Smith, Wakeham, Cogger, Ogden, Lichaa, Napa, Jackson, Harawira-Naera, Elliott; Interchanges: Marshall-King, Toomaga, Fualalo, C Smith
Tries: Wakeham; Goals: Meaney
Full match reports of all this weekend’s NRL games will feature in Monday’s League Express.