A spirited Dyldam Parramatta Eels Holden Cup side have gone down 34-32 in a two point thriller to the Brisbane Broncos at Suncorp Stadium tonight, after clawing their way back in the second half with twenty unanswered points, before a sideline conversion at the death secured the win for the home side.
The Blue and Gold had one late change to their line up, with Head Coach Luke Burt calling Dean Matterson into the starting side alongside Troy Dargan, Michael Doolan moving into fullback, and the new number one was met by an early rampaging forward in Linday Collins who charged onto the end of a short ball to strike first in the clash.
The Blue and Gold looked to strike back quickly through the new look backline, with winger Jermaine Mati-Leifi on the end of a left edge spread that went through the hands of Matterson, Dargan and Doolan, but a tough pass saw the winger drop the ball twenty metres out, with no defenders in front.
The Broncos made the most of the mistake, crossing in their next set through centre Gehamat Shibasaki who broke through the defence, running 40m to score.
The Broncos continued to camp down in the Eels end forcing a few repeat sets, before Shibasaki crossed for his second out wide to put the Broncos in front 16-6.
The Eels struck back shortly after through forward Kurt De Luis, who spun and pirouetted his way to the line to dive over to the right of the posts for a converted try.
With two minutes remaining til half-time, Broncos forward Michael Molo was the fortunate man who scooped up an offload at the tryline to dive over, seeing the Broncos head to the sheds with a 22-12 lead.
The second-half saw a reinvigorated Blue and Gold return to the field and they crossed early through winger Mati-Leifi who was on the end of a bullet like cutout ball from Dargan.
Repeat sets forced by Troy Dargan and Michael Doolan paid dividends when winger James Gammidge scored out wide, after Mason Cerruto sliced through the line and offloaded to his winger to score.
Matterson stepped through some lazy defenders out wide to put the Eels in front for the first time in the clash and Doolan then crossed in the 63rd minute as the Eels scored 20 unanswered points in the second half to lead 32-22.
However there was to be another twist in the clash, with Broncos winger David Fauid scoring out wide for a converted try before fullback Corey Allan looked to plant it in the corner as he was forced into touch.
The try was awarded, with the Blue and Gold players not pleased with the decision in the 75th minute, before Broncos half Gerome Burns secured the win with a match winning conversion from the sideline to claim a two point victory.
Brisbane Broncos 34 (Tries: Lindsay Collins, Gehamat Shibasaki (2), Michael Molo, David Fauid, Corey Allen; Goals Gerome Burns 5/6).
Parramatta Eels 32 (Tries: Dane Aukafolau, Kurt De Luis, Jermaine Mati-Leifi , James Gammidge, Dean Matterson, Michael Doolan; Goals Michael Doolan 3/5)