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Broncos squander chance to seal NRL finals spot in heavy loss to Bulldogs

Brisbane face a nervous wait to see if they are bounced out of the NRL's finals in the unlikeliest fashion after they were upset 30-14 by Canterbury at ANZ Stadium.

Needing a win to guarantee a finals spot, Brisbane were outplayed by Canterbury on Saturday night as Nick Meaney scored a hat-trick and Lachlan Lewis starred.

The result means Brisbane can still miss the NRL's finals if the Wests Tigers and Cronulla play a 90-minute draw on Sunday, a result that would see both Sydney sides qualify.

Working in Brisbane's favour is the fact there has been just one draw in the past 600 games, dating back to early August 2016.

If there is a winner, the Broncos will finish eighth and face Parramatta in a sudden-death elimination final at Bankwest Stadium next weekend.

Regardless of which scenario plays out, Brisbane were served a serious wake-up call by a Bulldogs team who finish the season with five wins from the last six games.

Brisbane were only really in the contest for 10 minutes before halftime, as the Bulldogs pulled out to a 12-0 lead early and controlled the second half.

David Fifita, Kitoni Staggs and Payne Haas were easily their best, with the latter scoring two tries in the space of four minutes just before the break.

His first came on the back of a long run from Fifita, while his second came as he ran through and leapt high to take a Jake Turpin bomb and score.

Anthony Milford also crossed in the second half, while Haas finished with 201 metres and six tackle busts.

But they were still outscored by Meaney, who finished the night with 22 points - the most of any Canterbury player in a match against Brisbane.

He had his first when they typically unconventional Lewis turned his back to the defence and threw a cut-out ball for the unmarked winger in the third minute.

The pair combined early in the second half as well, with Lewis this time kicking early for his unmarked finisher.

His third was down to a nicely-executed cut-out ball down the short side from Will Hopoate.

Remis Smith and Josh Jackson also scored for the Bulldogs, leaving Dean Pay's side to head into the 2020 season with renewed hope.

Bulldogs star Nick Meaney dives in to score against the Broncos. Source: Getty


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