Queensland State of Origin hopeful Corey Oates is set to be sidelined for a month after being injured in Brisbane’s 25-10 NRL win over a gutsy Warriors on Friday night at Suncorp Stadium.
Oates showed why he was considered an Origin chance for Queensland this year with a stellar display before suffering a dislocated shoulder in the 71st minute.
The towering winger racked up 152m and crossed for a first-half try to put his hand up early for a Maroons call-up in front of 34,520 fans.
Brisbane later confirmed Oates had suffered an AC shoulder joint injury.
“He’s been fantastic for us. Between him, Darbs (Darius Boyd) and JK (Jordan Kahu) out the back there, they really got us out of some sticky situations,” Broncos captain Corey Parker said.
Brisbane led 12-10 at halftime before the Warriors finally wilted in the second half after losing backs Manu Vatuvei (ribs) and centre Blake Ayshford (concussion).
The limited interchanges and humid conditions ensured the match came down to a survival of the fittest.
In the end, the two injuries to the Warriors’ backs proved the difference.
“They (Warriors) were very committed. I was pleased we got away with it in the end,” coach Wayne Bennett said.
Warriors coach Andrew McFadden believed his side had answered their critics and were “well in front” at halftime despite trailing on the scoreboard.
“But when your whole forward pack has just got nothing left, it is hard to build anything – the challenge got too big for us,” he said.
Asked how tough was it to plough on with two men down with just eight interchanges, McFadden said: “I think it (rule change) has impacted on the game more than most coaches thought it would.”
The unbeaten Broncos ran in four tries to one against a Warriors side who did their best to rectify last round’s first-half capitulation.
McFadden arrived at the clash under enormous pressure.
Former coach Graham Lowe was the most-vocal critic of their first-round loss to the lowly Wests Tigers, claiming the Warriors lacked a hard edge due to their “bro culture”.
The Warriors showed plenty of fight against the 2015 grand finalists but still slumped to their 10th straight loss stretching back to the second half of last season.
Oates’ inspirational hand helped Brisbane grab the lead at halftime.
Already earmarked for Origin, Oates showed the grit needed to earn a Queensland jersey when he twice ran the ball out of the in-goal area under heavy traffic.
He also showed he had the flair, finishing off an Anthony Milford blindside play to score in the eighth minute.