St. Helens 18 Brisbane Broncos 14 (VIEW MATCH)
2007 World Club Challenge
Ade Gardner flies like an eagle!
Brisbane Broncos put great store on their preparation for this match and it had all the ingredients of a real classic encounter. There were over 23,000 at the Reebok Stadium to see if the Saints could overcome the challenge of some of the world’s great teams, captained by Darren Lockyer.
Ade Gardner try
Saints sprung a surprise, with the inclusion in the 17 of Paul Sculthorpe, who had barely trained since recovering from a knee operation in the off-season. The Australian champions had their opponents well under the cosh in the first quarter, opening an 8-0 lead courtesy of a try and two goals from Corey Parker. Despite further pressure, the Saints defence managed to hold out and they scored a fantastic try with just forty seconds left in the first half, when Long, Pryce, Wellens and Gidley combined to send Ade Gardner crashing in at the corner. Sculthorpe, who had come off the bench after 20 minutes, added a brilliant conversion from the touchline. At 6-8 it was now very much ‘game on’.
The Broncos came roaring back after the interval, with a try by Darius Boyd, but on 57 minutes, after concerted Saints’ pressure, Keiron Cunningham’s delightful cut-out pass from dummy half allowed Paul Sculthorpe to dive over for a converted try. A Corey Parker penalty gave the Broncos a 12-14 advantage, from a high tackle by Matt Gidley, but the Saints struck back in sensational fashion with ten minutes remaining when Sean Long’s pin-point kick to the corner was seized upon by the high-flying Ade Gardner, who grounded the ball brilliantly to give his side the lead they never relinquished. It was a fabulous ending for the Saints winger, who had made a crucial error for Brisbane’s first try. The club had thus completed the hat-trick of Grand final, Challenge Cup and World Club Challenge winners in the space of six months – another fabulous achievement.