Gutsy Eels go down to Broncos at Suncorp
Brisbane's 18-10 victory over a gallant Parramatta in Wayne Bennett's 800th premiership game as coach has been overshadowed by an Achilles injury to centre James Roberts which has his NSW Blues selection in doubt.
Roberts, who scored a try early in the second half, sustained the injury after a dart down the right touchline and left the field in the 61st minute to ice the injury.
The 25-year-old flyer is right in the frame for Blues selection in the opening State of Origin clash in Melbourne on June 6 and said after the game he would be going for scans on Friday.
He had one message for Blues coach Brad Fittler and said that was "100 percent I'm ready to go".
"It is just precautionary tonight. It got a bit swollen when I took off and I told the trainers I was struggling," he said.
"I have got scans tomorrow morning and it should be all good.
"I had been struggling with it all pre-season. Hopefully it gets better by next week.
"If I get the [Origin] call-up it will be awesome and a really good achievement for myself, my family and my people. I'll be really stoked."
Coach Wayne Bennett was also not too worried about Roberts and said his Achilles issue was not new.
"It flares up every day," he said.
"I am sure that he'll play Origin if he gets picked. Any pain that he has got today will go away very quickly."
The Broncos were far from their best but once again the back-row of Jaydn Su'A, Tevita Pangai jnr and Joe Ofahengaue was enormous for the home side.
The Eels couldn't take a trick with Michael Jennings over the line once and all but across on another occasion only for desperate Broncos defence jolting the ball free.
With six minutes remaining a Corey Norman pass floated just forward to Bevan French who would have been over untouched. That summed up Parramatta's night.
Match: Broncos vs Eels
Round 12 -
Venue: Suncorp Stadium
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The Broncos fourth win out of five games has them temporarily in the top eight for the first time in six weeks and with a bye next round Bennett will be pleased with their position on the ladder in the wake of a long injury list.
Brisbane winger Jamayne Isaako confirmed his status as the new Israel Folau when he jumped to take a Kodi Nikorima bomb and step his way to tryline with strength and power in the 10th minute.
With Michael Jennings in the sin bin the Broncos turned on a classic right to left sweeping move involving Nikorima, Anthony Milford and Darius Boyd.
The try to Corey Oates in the corner was a formality after one of the slickest backline pieces of play Brisbane has put on this year.
Ofahengaue showcased why he is in contention for a Queensland Maroons jersey with a try saving tackle on Michael Jennings which jolted the ball free as the Eels centre seemed certain to score.
Milford also showed desperation to save a try when Jennings was on his way to chasing a kick.
The Broncos took a 12-2 lead into the break.
Straight after half-time a rampaging Su'a found a flying Roberts. Soon after George Jennings raced 90m after intercepting a Milford pass and the game was well in the balance.
Both sides landed penalty goals after that but Brisbane hung on in the key moments when the luckless Eels threatened their line.
News & Notes ... Parramatta Eels centre Michael Jennings was sin binned in the 13th minute for a professional foul on Anthony Milford...Brisbane Broncos centre James Roberts left the field in the 61st minute with a suspected Achilles injury ...Broncos winger Jamayne Isaako scored his seventh try in 12 games this season...Broncos coach Wayne Bennett coached his 800th premiership game, the first coach in history to reach that milestone...Crowd: 21,555 ... Next round: Brisbane Broncos bye. Parramatta Eels at home to Newcastle at ANZ Stadium on Saturday at 7.30pm.