Rugby League

Walsh, Mam lead Broncos to razzle dazzle win against Raiders

April 21, 2024 6:45 am

[Source: NRL]

Young stars Reece Walsh and Ezra Mam made compelling cases for Queensland Origin selection as they led the Broncos to a razzle dazzle win against an injury hit Raiders at Suncorp Stadium.

With Australian golf star Cam Smith among the 37,286 Brisbane crowd, the Broncos turned entertainers as they raced in five unanswered first half tries in wet conditions before running out 34-10 winners.

Walsh scored two tries and kicked five goals for a personal tally of 18 points and made three line breaks, seven tackle breaks while running 177 metres with the ball.

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Mam, who was playing halfback in the absence of injured captain Adam Reynolds, scored a try and produced three try assists in a performance that solidified his claims for an Origin debut.

Trailing 28-0 at halftime, the Raiders suffered a further blow when star halfback Jamal Fogarty was ruled out of the remainder of the match with a biceps injury.

Teenage Canberra fullback Chevy Stewart was targeted by the Broncos and made four first half errors, while he was hit in a heavy tackle by Kobe Hetherington and forced into his own in-goal on a number of occasions.

However, like his team-mates, Stewart didn’t stop trying in tough conditions.

Raiders forward Hudson Young appeared to have scored the opening try of the match when he dived onto a Danny Levi grubber into the Broncos in-goal but replays showed the NSW Origin representative knocked the ball on.

Instead, it was the Broncos who scored first in the 13th minute, despite completing just three of their opening six sets of tackles and spending most of the early exchanges down their own end of the field.

Walsh bought the home crowd to their feet when he sliced through the Raiders defensive line and stepped past four would be tacklers on a 40-metre run to the tryline.

With momentum shifting their way, the Broncos were only denied another try on the next set of tackles by the desperation from James Schiller after an Ezra Mam tackle jolted the ball loose from Stewart.

As the ball spewed backwards into the Canberra in-goal, Brisbane centre Selwyn Cobbo was poised to pounce but Schiller got a toe to it just before his rival’s hand and kicked the ball dead.

However, it wasn’t long before the Broncos would score again, with prop Fletcher Baker running through to field a kick from Mam and offloading for second-rower Jordan Riki to score in the 17th minute.

Mam then scored a try of his own three minutes later after Stewart spilled a spiralling bomb and the Brisbane playmaker toed the ball ahead before diving on it in the Canberra in-goal.

Broncos hooker Billy Walters was the next to score when he grubbered ahead for himself and won the race for the ball to extend the home team’s lead to 24-0 in even time.

Walsh then grabbed his second try in the 28th minute after racing into a gap as he received a pass from five-eighth Jock Madden near the Canberra line.

The star fullback missed his first conversion of the match, but the 28-0 halftime lead was the most points the Broncos have scored against the Raiders in an opening 40-minute stanza since joining the premiership in 1988.

With Fogarty unable to return after halftime, rookie Simi Sasagi, who had started the match in the second-row, shifted to the halves and he scored Canberra’s first try in the 50th minute.

However, the Broncos soon regained control and Cobbo scored in the 56th minute to extend the home team’s lead to 34-6.

Raiders winger Xavier Savage scored a consolation try in the 67th minute but it was too little too late and Brisbane celebrated back-to-back wins for the first time this season.