A Jamayne Isaako field goal in the first minute of golden point has given the Broncos a 17-16 win over the Eels after wrecking ball forward David Fifita went on a surging 30-metre run to put his winger in perfect position.
In an extraordinary show of strength Fifita collected the ball on the 45-metre line and surged past six Eels to give Isaako the shot from close range.
The Broncos have one foot in the finals after captain Darius Boyd inspired the victory over the Eels in his best game for the year in the five-eighth position.
A Boyd bust was the catalyst for the Broncos' first try and his pace and desire was the key when he later pounced on an Anthony Milford grubber to notch his side’s second.
The victory took the Broncos to 25 competition points, one point clear of Cronulla and three ahead of Penrith and Wests Tigers, both on 22 points.
Match: Broncos v Eels
Round 24 -
Venue: Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
If the Broncos beat the Bulldogs next Saturday night they will finish either seventh or eighth.
The Eels, on 28 points, have next to no chance of finishing in the top four and seem set to finish in sixth position and host a final at Bankwest Stadium.
Boyd, who has copped plenty of criticism for most of the season, answered his critics emphatically with a captain’s knock when it was all on the line.
Boyd had plenty of mates with Milford and Fifita, who made 15 tackle busts, both enormous. The Eels refused to give in and came home on fire after Brisbane led 16-6.
After both sides had exchanged penalties in a tight opening quarter of the match, the Eels scored the first try with a sweeping right to left backline play as the passes swung through Mitchell Moses and Dylan Brown to Clint Gutherson.
The Eels skipper delivered a perfect face ball on the chest of an unmarked Maika Sivo who went over untouched for his 17th try of the season.
Isaako wins it for the Broncos and keeps their finals hopes alive
The Broncos had looked most likely to score early through Fifita and it was the 19-year-old wrecking ball who gave Brisbane the lead after captain Boyd sliced through the line with a step and turn of speed.
Isaako landed a penalty on the stroke of half-time from 35 metres out for Brisbane to lead 10-6 at the break.
Fifita threatened again early in the second stanza and on the back of another surge Milford caressed a grubber through the line for a flying Boyd to extend the advantage to 16-6.
Flying Fijian winger Sivo was the man most likely to break the game open for the Eels and he then went on a raking surge down field. Andrew McCullough, aware a quick play the ball could have been deadly, held him down and was sin-binned.
The Broncos had several chances to score but were repelled by the Eels.
Then with 14 minutes remaining Blake Ferguson scored a winger’s try for the ages on his return from a six-week lay off with a knee infection.
On the back of a three-man cut-out pass from Junior Paulo, the NSW winger was airborne with all of his body over the sideline but somehow managed to plant the ball in the corner before his knees touched the ground.
The Eels powered on and the strength and determination of Kane Evans from close range levelled the scores as he reached out with one hand to score a cracker and level it up at 16-all in the 76th minute.
Isaako then attempted 45-metre field goal with 39 seconds remaining and hit the posts in a heart-stopping ending to normal time.
He was to get another crack from closer range a minute later in golden point and, thanks to the unstoppable Fifita, landed it with aplomb to keep the Broncos premiership hopes well and truly alive.
The Eels showed the kind of grit that got them into the finals in the first place and did not die wondering.
Freakish Ferguson try gets the Eels back in it