NRL in Las Vegas: Broncos v Roosters – live | NRL

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Full-time: Sydney Roosters 20-10 Brisbane Broncos

The Roosters kick their season off in style in Las Vegas with a well deserved two points.

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79 mins: Arthars spills a high kick under pressure from Manu. The Broncos are not coming back.

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78 mins: Brisbane earn a line drop-out but the Roosters are first to Keary’s short kick.

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76 mins: It’s hard to see this result changing now. Easts have been the better team and deserve the win.

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75 mins: … no. The attack is unstructured and aside from Reynolds almost showing and going through a gap there’s no pattern to speak of. The Roosters have defended well all game and stand resolute.

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74 mins: Walters claims the restart off hands 20m out. Can Brisbane hit back straight away?

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TRY! Roosters 20-10 Broncos (Radley, 73)

Victor Radley gets the try but the score belongs to James Tedesco. He accepts a routine pass from Walker as play shifts to the right. She shakes his hips and drives through the flailing arms of Carrigan and Mam into open field. Radley is on his shoulder to accept the assist and touch down under the posts.

Walker kicks an easy two. Game over.

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72 mins: Walsh loses possession in contact 40m out from his own line. The Broncos are starting to look ragged.

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70 mins: Tempers are rising as we enter the final ten minutes. Mam is put on report for a disagreement with Leniu. Wong is off with a leg injury. And now Cobbo loses the ball on the left wing trying to run out of defence. Brisbane will only have themselves to blame if they lose tonight. Too sloppy too often.

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69 mins: A feature of Brisbane’s game tonight has been Reynolds’ bombs only carrying 20-30m in the air, not penetrating deep into Sydney territory. If it’s an attacking ploy, it has yet to pay dividends. It’s also played neatly into Sydney’s hands as they haven’t had to over exert themselves to establish territory.

Broncos captain Adam Reynolds shapes to kick in the NRL match against Sydney Roosters in Vegas. Photograph: Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
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67 mins: Walsh concedes a needless ruck penalty in Sydney territory. A bunch of players come together for some half-hearted wrestling, but everyone’s too tired to care.

Apropos of nothing, the camera pans to Lachlan Murdoch looking at his phone in a corporate box. Foxtel CEO Patrick Delany tossed the coin before the opening match of the day. Is that what Jack Donaghy calls vertical integration?

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66 mins: The game is still being played at a fearsome intensity. You’d expect more scores in the closing stages as bodies tire and gaps emerge.

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64 mins: From cruising to halfway the Roosters go up a gear and have the overlap on the left but Suaalii can’t find the final pass and gets hauled down. Brisbane can only run to 40m before Reynolds is forced to kick.

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63 mins: Brisbane kick to attacking 30. Baker drives forcefully through the middle. Reynolds almost feeds Riki through the line in the right centre position. Then on tackle four the grubber is overhit and the attack fizzles out. The Broncos have made that mistake time and again tonight and instead of concerted pressure the Roosters are suddenly on halfway and out of jail.

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61 mins: Tedesco’s restart is out on the full.

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TRY! Roosters 14-10 Broncos (Walsh, 60)

Not that Brisbane need repeat sets. Tackle four on halfway, Walters shapes to go to the right and throws a magnificent pass to the left to rip open the Sydney defence. Walsh and Cobbo exchange passes on the run to draw the Roosters out of positoin and the fullback swan dives under the posts. So clinical, so beautiful to watch. Out of nothing the Broncos are back in it.

Reynolds can’t miss the conversion under the posts.

Broncos star Reece Walsh crosses for a brilliant try in the NRL clash with the Roosters in Las Vegas. Photograph: Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
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60 mins: Tedesco gathers the Reynolds grubber under the posts and his Roosters drive forcefully to the 40m line before Walker kicks to Walsh inside his own 10m zone. Easts have been super effective all night, never allowing Brisbane repeat sets in dangerous territory.

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58 mins: Sydney continue to make good ground sniping from the ruck, as they have all night, and Sandon Smith buys some ground to set up another Walker bomb. It looks dangerous in the air but Suaalii clumsily makes contact with Mariner mid-air and Brisbane get a relieving penalty.

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56 mins: This is when Brisbane could do with a Capewell or a Flegler to control the middle of the park. All that attacking flair is meaningless with territory or possession.

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54 mins: For the first time tonight the Roosters capitalise on some improvised footy. If they can add that to their arsenal consistently they will finish higher than seventh this year. Everything else about their game is in very good order.

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TRY! Roosters 14-4 Broncos (Pauga, 52)

Easts start to ramp up the pressure. Walker’s bomb hangs in the air for an age and Walsh looks to have it covered but he lets it through his fingers and into the waiting arms of Tedesco! The Roosters throw the ball out to the left where there’s an overlap but Cobbo gets his fingertips to the killer pass and the move stalls. Sydney aren’t finished though and spin the ball quickly to the right. Manu hits the line at pace, accepts contact, then somehow spins in the tackle, releases his ball-carrying right arm and flicks a pass out of the side door to Pauga to touch down in the corner. Incredible action. Brilliant skill from Manu. Superb try.

Walker adds the extras from the right touchline.

Rooster Sam Walker kicks a conversion in the match against the Broncos at Allegiant Stadium. Photograph: David Becker/AP
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51 mins: Excellent proactive defensive effort from the Roosters for four tackles but Mam relieves the pressure with a linebreak. It’s all got a bit scrappy as fatigue sets in.

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49 mins: Brisbane build from A1 field position. Walsh has a dart down the left. Smoothy chips away centrally. The Easts defence holds firm and the Broncos handover without attempting a kick.

The crowd is announced as 40,796. That’s a solid number, but it’s not earth-shattering. Also lower than promoted earlier in the week. I’m sure it will be sold back to us as the greatest result in the history of Australian sport.

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47 mins: Now Brisbane get a penalty with Mam stripped unnecessarily on the ground on halfway.

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46 mins: But Tedesco doesn’t like what he saw from Walsh. Were there any arms involved? He challenges – and the TMO agrees that it was a shoulder-charge. That was a line-ball call that could have gone either way. As it is, it’s only a penalty, not a penalty try, and almost immediately from the restart Collins coughs up possession.

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46 mins: From hero to zero for Arthars, who gets turned around by Brandon Smith’s early kick and can only palm the ball into touch. Golden opportunity for the Roosters. And they go early, carving to the left side and Tupou has the corner in sight. At serious pace. Along comes Walsh. Can he lay the covering tackle? Yes! Incredible action.

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44 mins: Better front-foot defence from Brisbane but Walker clears any building danger with a magnificent long kick to the left corner that almost becomes a 40/20. The Broncos again look to Walsh for some magic, but instead it’s the leaping Arthars, who climbs all over Pauga, who almost opens the door but after hauling down the bomb he can’t get back to his feet quickly enough.

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42 mins: The Roosters start on the front foot with an early offload allowing Tedesco to skip to the 40m line. Mariner does well under the resulting bomb on the last and the counter becomes dangerous after Walsh slips Staggs into space on the left. On the last the grubber towards the posts is smothered by Collins.

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The teams are back out for the second half.

Never thought I’d live to see this. Gobsmacking. Could it be that rugby league has finally shed the provincial chip on its shoulder and will now allow itself to realise its potential? Could this be the most important night in 129 years? pic.twitter.com/zQmDhHVAEY

— ⚡Steve Mascord☠️ (@SteveMascord) March 3, 2024

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Whether these matches prove to be of any consequence in growing the NRL remains to be seen, but there can be no criticising the product on display. All three halves so far have lived up to the billing, full of fast, heavy-hitting rugby league.

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Half-time: Roosters 8-4 Broncos

Brisbane have another tackle after that TMO intervention, but their attempts to allow Reynolds a drop-goal opportunity fail.

The Roosters take a deserved lead into the break, but they will regret only being four points to the good after dominating that half.

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40 mins: With time running out on the half, Walker has acres of space 30m out dead in front, and he dabs over a simple point. BUT THE FIELD GOAL IS OVERTURNED by the TMO for Radley and Collins screening their halfback, denying Brisbane clear sight for the chargedown.

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40 mins: Brisbane commit a penalty with 40 seconds of the half remaining. Sydney kick to the 40m line.

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39 mins: WOW! The line drop-out carries about 30m, straight up the guts, and it becomes a one-on-one marking contest between Tedesco and Mam, each heading at speed and launching into the air for the grab. And Tedesco comes out on top! Incredible from the NSW skipper. Not only does he claim the mark, Mam is battered for good measure.

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39 mins: Brisbane needed that score, and they needed that break in play. Run off their feet and second best all half, they now have a foothold in the game.

And the bounce of the ball is going their way too with Pauga failing to defuse a swirly Reynolds bomb, inviting a line drop-out.

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TRY! Roosters 8-4 Broncos 4 (Mariner, 36)

Reece Walsh – too good. The ball is thrown from left to right along the 10m line until Walsh takes a step to create space and unsettle the Roosters’ defence. Spotting a gap he dabs a kick forward and is clotheslined off the ball. Not to worry, Mariner turns on the afterburners to dash into the gap and dive on the loose ball. One look, one try, that’s Brisbane.

Reynolds fails with the conversion attempt.

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36 mins: Finally Brisbane have some field position, reinforced by back-to-back set restarts… You know what comes next.

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35 mins: Nearly another intercept! Brisbane again throw a pass begging to be cut out and Walker pretty much does, only to be collected in a massive shot by Mam. That was a huge moment in this game.

Chooks should be up by 20 here. Would be very worried if I was cheering the Tricolours. They’ve been awesome but have to score.

— Nick Tedeschi (@Tedeschi8181) March 3, 2024

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34 mins: Brisbane are running through treacle coming out of defence. Four tackles get them nowhere – but they they’re gifted a penalty on the ground! Huge let off.

Rooster Fetalaiga Pauga and Bronco Selwyn Cobbo clash in their NRL match at Allegiant Stadium. Photograph: Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
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32 mins: It’s all happening. The Roosters move from right to left but Collins loses possession, Brisbane hack the ball off the ground, and somehow recover it 20m out. A couple of tackles later the Steeden’s back in blue hands after a one-on-one strip! On the last the long high crossfield kick is plucked out of the sky by Tupou near the left corner, but Brisbane have enough defenders around him to hold him up before he can touch down.

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30 mins: The Roosters look like creating an opportunity every time they go forward. They just don’t look comfortable in broken play or inviting the chaos required to unlock the Brisbane defence. On the latest occasion Radley has a pass blocked on the left but Easts don’t improvise well. However, they do get another drive in the red zone.

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29 mins: Brisbane again lose possession carrying the ball out of defence. Or do they? Payne Haas challenges the decision and the TMO agrees! The drive continues, but not for long, as Walsh is penalised for offloading after the tackle.

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28 mins: The Roosters look clearly the fitter, sharper, and more well drilled of the two sides. Again they eat up the metres and in dangerous territory Manu offloads to Butcher on his inside down the right. One more pass and Sydney could be in, but the No 16 holds onto possession. The kick on the last bobbles through the in-goal.

Rooster Nat Butcher is tackled by Bronco Reece Walsh during the NRL match in Las Vegas. Photograph: David Becker/AP
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26 mins: For the first time since kick-off Brisbane execute a good kick-chase and send down three tackles full of hustle. Keary is forced to kick from range for the first time in a while. But the Broncos can’t string anything together in attack and Walsh also has to kick from deep. He goes for the 40-20 and it is a brilliant effort, just bouncing into touch the wrong side of the corner flag.

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24 mins: From the scrum 40m out, Tedesco has a dart on the inside-left channel, forcing the Broncos to scramble. Brisbane recover well in the middle so Easts go again to the left with Tedesco’s quick hands freeing Tupou. But there’s no room inside the narrow field, or outside it, with the NSW winger pounded into the wall forming the base of the stand by Staggs.

Rooster Joseph Manu runs at the Broncos defence in the NRL clash Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas. Photograph: David Becker/AP
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22 mins: The Roosters are attacking with more zip and defending with more aggression. After Radley clatters into Walsh chasing the long kick, Hetherington is punched out of possession in midfield to set up Easts with a golden opportunity.

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20 mins: The Broncos get to work under the posts with Reynolds feeding runners on either side right up the guts. The Roosters defend superbly though and Brisbane have to concede the handover after running on the last.

In other news, Piakura fails his HIA – so Brisbane will be a man short on the bench for the majority of the game.

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18 mins: Another efficient drive from the Roosters from the restart takes them to 10/10 sets for the match. Brisbane need to string some sets together and establish some field position. That will help – Arthars plucking a high mark from the sky and returning it 30m on the burst. The Broncos make sensible decisions thereafter and earn a penalty on the last when Reynolds milks a soft one, making the most of some minor contact with Collins’ lazy high left arm.

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PENALTY! Roosters 8-0 Broncos (Walker, 16)

Sydney extend their deserved lead to eight points with a straightforward penalty kick.

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