Brisbane Broncos 10
Parramatta Eels 6
DARREN LOCKYER celebrated an NRL record in style, as the Brisbane Broncos only just repelled the Parramatta Eels in a cliff-hanger in Sydney last night.
Lockyer turned in a typically classy performance in front of a crowd of almost 16,000 as he became the most-capped player for an NRL club. It was the Broncos' eighth win of the season and moved them into the top eight - a task now more difficult for the Eels.
If Lockyer was the conductor for the Broncos, Sam Thaiday was a powerhouse on attack and defence. Israel Folau was also a threat and scored the game-breaking try.
Nathan Hindmarsh worked hard for the Eels and Jarryd Hayne, despite a couple of fumbles, showed his class.
It was a major milestone for Darren Lockyer, who broke Andrew Ettinghausen's record of 328 matches for a single club. But there was a big question mark against the Broncos' defence, which had conceded almost 40 missed tackles a game compared to the Eels' 30 misses.
The Eels had lost three of their previous four matches, including 4-6 to the Knights in heavy rain in Newcastle on Monday night. They were without Timana Tahu (suspended) and injured Eric Grothe while Ben Smith returned in the back row. Matt Gillett came into the Broncos in the centres and Lagi Setu started at prop.
Lockyer was soon into his rhythm, slipping a perfectly placed left-foot punt for which Peter Wallace outjumped the opposition to score the first try.
It was also a kick which led to the Eels' first score, with Hayne grabbing the ricochet after Hindmarsh had made valuable metres.
Luke Burt tied the scores at 6-all just before the break with a penalty and it was a fair indication of an even first half.
The Broncos came close to breaking the deadlock 12 minutes into the second spell but back-rower Ben Te'o lost the ball in the tackle; then Folau was held up over the line in the tackle of Hayne.
Midway through the half. Folau scored his 14th try of the season and his 31st in 31 games for the Broncos, and his team defended stoutly for the win.
Eels 6 (J. Hayne try, L. Burt goal); Broncos 10 (P. Wallace, I. Folau tries, C. Parker goal). Halftime: 6-6.