Young fullback Reece Walsh gave a glimpse of his huge potential as Brisbane drew with Wynnum Manly Seagulls 22-22 in an entertaining trial match at Kitchener Park.
Broncos props Matt Lodge and Tevita Pangai Junior returned to the game with a vengeance after spending much of last season off the field. However, a strong pre-season saw them both return to full fitness and they were set on making a big impression in the opening trial game of 2021.
And pair didn’t disappoint with a host of strong carries and tough defence in a big first half effort that laid the foundation for three slick Broncos tries in the opening half.
Broncos winger Dale Copley opened the scoring in the fifth minute, touching down in the left corner after a lovely 15-metre cut-out pass from fullback Walsh.
Sadly, it was the last action Copley would see as he was taken straight off after scoring, still feeling the effects of high contact to his throat in one of the first carries of the game.
Brisbane was in again when backrower Leivaha Pulu muscled his way over in the 10th minute off the back of a barnstorming Ethan Bullemor bust up the middle.
The kick by Walsh was successful to make it 10-0, but Wynnum hit back in the 13th minute when fullback Selwyn Cobbo sliced through on the left edge to make it 10-4.
Interestingly, Cobbo would later turn out in a Broncos jersey, playing for the NRL side in the second half of the match.
Winger Isaiah Tass extended the Broncos’ lead however in the 26th minute when he picked up a nice short-side pass from Tyson Gamble to score in the left corner. Walsh slotted a lovely conversion from the touchline to make it 16-6.
The Seagulls dragged it back to 16-10 with a fine individual try to Jack Campagnolo, who produced two big left-foot steps to beat Albert Kelly and Pulu, before stretching out to score. Campagnolo then converted his own try.
The Seagulls drew level with 15 minutes to go after Sebastian Winters-Chang showed some nice footwork after latching onto a cross kick and score out wide. Campagnolo levelled up the contest with a successful kick from the left touchline.
Broncos coach Kevin Walters put Lodge, Pangai, Bullemor and the slick Walsh back in for a final stint and it paid dividends, with big metres made up the middle.
Bullemor crashed over with six minutes to go to regain the lead for the Broncos, with the try converted by Josh James for a 22-16 lead.
However, Wynnum hit back again with one of the tries of the night, when a kick pinballed into the midfield for big centre Emanuel Tuimavave-Gerrard to pick up and score next to the posts.
In addition to Lodge, Pangai and Walsh, five-eighth Gamble and hooker Kobe Hetherington had strong games for the Broncos.
For the Seagulls, new signing Campagnolo was heavily involved, while up front Max Elliott made his presence known in defence.
Some players from Wynnum Manly Seagulls will be in action again tonight at Bishop Park when they take on Norths Devils in four grades, with the Intrust Super Cup game to kick off at 7pm.
Wynnum Manly Seagulls 22 (Selwyn Cobbo, Jack Campagnolo, Sebastian Winters-Chang, Emanuel Tuimavave-Gerrard tries; Jack Campagnolo 3 goals) drew with Brisbane Broncos 22 (Dale Copley, Leivaha Pulu, Isaiah Tass, Ethan Bullemor tries; Reece Walsh 2, Joshua James goals) at Kitchener Park