Brisbane have provisionally moved to the top of the NRL ladder after toppling Canberra 24-12 at GIO Stadium on Saturday.
The Broncos ran in four tries to two as the Raiders’ poor starts again proved costly.
But there was no shortage of entertainment for the 10,090 fans, despite plenty of dropped ball in the chilly Canberra conditions.
The Broncos – without two of their six Origin stars Justin Hodges and Sam Thaiday – missed two early chances to get on the board but were quick to redeem themselves with a pair of quickfire converted tries.
Jack Reed caught the Raiders short on the left edge in the 13th minute, before Jordan Kahu did the same on the far right a few minutes later.
It marked the 10th time in 12 rounds this season Wayne Bennett’s men have scored the first try.
It also extended the Raiders’ poor record in the first 20 minutes, bringing to 50 the number of points conceded in the opening quarter in their past three matches.
The Raiders, though, didn’t let up – levelling it at 12-12 with back-to-back tries of their own via Blake Austin and Jarrad Kennedy.
But it was a try on the stroke of halftime that provided arguably the highlight of the season – and one that had Bennett crack a rare smile.
Ben Hunt looked to take the ball out of touch as the siren blew, but a clever kick, some creative passing and a few pirouettes in a seemingly endless play got Lachlan Maranta over the line for a 16-12 lead.
“I know we still have 14 (rounds) to go but I’m prepared to say that will be try of the year!” Australian captain Cameron Smith tweeted.
They followed it up with a four-pointer to Corey Oates in the 58th minute and two penalty goals.
It was the second time in less than a week the Broncos have kept their opponents scoreless in the second half.
They next play Manly at home on Friday, while the Raiders travel to Newcastle on Saturday.