Unlikely hero Jordan Kahu has stepped up to slot a last-gasp field goal to help Brisbane hold out Canberra 13-12 at Suncorp Stadium.
The stage was set for usual suspect Anthony Milford to put a horror week behind him and pot the potential matchwinner for the Broncos in the dying minutes of Friday night’s NRL clash.
Instead winger Kahu put his hand up, steering a 30m effort home in the 74th minute that glanced off the right upright.
Remarkably it was Kiwi international’s first field goal in 59 NRL games.
Brisbane snapped a worrying two-game losing run in front of 29,370 fans despite a quiet playmaker’s display from Milford.
The classy five-eighth was a shadow of himself and appeared distracted after making headlines for all the wrong reasons during the week.
Coach Wayne Bennett confronted Benji Marshall at training on Friday after Fox Sports’ NRL 360 claimed the veteran had been “horrified” by Milford’s lack of professionalism at training.
Marshall denied the accusation he spoke to the program and Bennett believed him, prompting a scathing attack on the media.
It sounded like a hard ask but the result should make Bennett happy again after they moved to a solid 2-2 season start.
The win was a fitting celebration for hooker Andrew McCullough, who celebrated his 200th game.
McCullough broke open the contest when he scored off a solo dummy half run in the 44th minute after scores were locked up 2-2 at halftime.
Brisbane jumped to a 12-2 lead after skipper Darius Boyd fed off Ben Hunt to crash over in the 51st minute.
However the never-say-die Raiders had somehow managed to level the scores again at 12-12 by the 51st minute.
Inspirational winger Jordan Ropana again combined with Joey Leilua to score in the 63rd minute before Blake Austin finished a sweeping movement sparked by Elliott Whitehead in the 71st.
The winger appeared to stun the Raiders defence when he stepped up for what became the match winner after Austin’s late field goal effort went awry.
Brisbane were denied a reunion with David Taylor after Canberra made a late change, replacing the ex-Bronco with Joe Tapine on the bench.
Adding injury to insult, Canberra lost Josh Hodgson (sternum) early in the second half.
Scans are expected to determine the injury’s extent but Canberra coach Ricky Stuart said his dummy half would not be risked next week against Parramatta.
After a golden point loss to North Queensland and a tight last round defeat to Melbourne, the pressure was on a Brisbane playmaker to make the clutch play.
Halfback Ben Hunt looked most likely after a stirring game in contrast to a seemingly distracted Milford.
But no one predicted Kahu.
“There weren’t any secret moves. It just took us a while to figure who was the best kicker we had,” Bennett said.
“We were a bit gun shy tonight
“We’ve had three tough games but a win will make a huge difference for them.”
Bennett had special praise for McCullough, at 27 the youngest Broncos forward to play 200 games.
Stuart lamented Brisbane’s 56 per cent possession.
“To turn over the ball like we did in the second half and still be two tries apiece, it’s pretty simple what we need to fix,” he said.