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Sunday, October 1, 2006
Rugby league-Brisbane beat Melbourne in NRL grand final


SYDNEY, Oct 1 - Brisbane beat Melbourne 15-8 to win the Australian National Rugby League (NRL) grand final in front of 82,000 spectators at Sydney's Olympic stadium on Sunday.

The scores were locked at 8-8 with 20 minutes to go but the Broncos finished strongest with replacement Corey Parker kicking a penalty, centre Brent Tate scoring a try and captain Darren Lockyer landing a field goal to seal the victory.

Lockyer also booted two first half goals while fullback Justin Hodges scored Brisbane's first try. Hooker Shaun Berrigan won the Clive Churchill medal as player of the match.

Melbourne, who were appearing in just their second grand final after winning the premiership in 1999, went into the match as slight favourites after finishing the regular season eight points clear at the top of the table.

They scored an early try through winger Steve Turner and a second half touchdown from centre Matt King to draw level but were unable to respond to Brisbane's late surge.

The Broncos claimed their sixth title in 15 seasons and their first since 2000, making Wayne Bennett the most successful coach in Australian rugby league history.

"We dug deep when we had to, that's the trademark of this team," Bennett said in a televised interview.

Sunday's grand final was the first played exclusively by teams from outside New South Wales, the traditional heartland of Australian rugby league.