Brisbane Broncos fall short as the victors lose their skipper possibly for the rest of the year.
Newcastle took a big step towards playing in the NRL finals with a gutsy 26-18 victory over the Brisbane Broncos at Suncorp Stadium on Friday.
However, the win came at a cost with captain Kurt Gidley taken from the field on a medicab suffering a serious ankle injury.
Post-match Newcastle coach Wayne Bennett said the injury appeared “as serious as an ankle can be” but refused to speculate if Gidley’s season was over.
Due to a poor start to the season the Broncos found themselves walking a finals tightrope with the Queensland side needing to win their last four games in order to have their fate still in their own hands.
But after back-to-back losses, Brisbane’s disappointing season will come to an end next weekend with the side not even having a mathematical chance of playing in the post-season.
Brisbane gave its fans some hope their season could still be alive when the led 14-6 at half time.
And Broncos fans would still have been rejoicing when main threat Gidley was taken off in the 48th minute with a suspected left ankle injury, even after crossing to cut the second half deficit to 14-12.
But from there it was one way traffic as Newcastle piled on three of the next four tries – including a double to fullback Darius Boyd – to finally extinguish any hope Brisbane could make the top eight.
It ensured six-time premiers Brisbane will miss the finals for the second time in four seasons.