The Brisbane Broncos produced a substantial second-half performance to come from behind and defeat Parramatta 18-6 in atrocious conditions at Parramatta stadium last night. If this is an indication of life after Darren Lockyer, Broncos fans would be happy with what they saw.
Conversely, the Eels came into the 2012 NRL season with new recruit Chris Sandow, hoping to solve their long-running halfback woes and put a forgettable 2011 campaign behind them
Parramatta began with a try less than 10 minutes into the first half, when former Souths halfback Sandow kicked the ball deep near the Broncos in-goal area, and capitalised on an error by Gerard Beale.
Brisbane’s first half was littered with handling errors, and the Broncos failed to make the most of their attacking opportunities.
The Eels in turn failed to capitalise, only leading by six points at the break.
The tide turned completely in the second stanza, the Broncos looking like a different team.
A well executed set play involving Sam Thaiday and Justin Hodges allowed Yow Yeh to get across the line. Corey Parker tied up the scores with a side-line conversion.
The match then turned firmly in Brisbane’s favour when Peter Wallace put a grubber through from inside the Eels’ 10 metre line which took a deflection from an Eels player, resulting in the former New South Wales halfback regathering his kick for an easy try.
The result was put beyond doubt when the Broncos scored their third try of the half, when Andrew McCullough put Ben Hannant through a hole, confirming the Broncos first win of the 2012 NRL season.
The Brisbane side can take a great deal of confidence out of the result, their first win in the post-Lockyer era.
The Eels, however, need to get a win on the board against the Warriors next weekend, and find the attacking potency that they lacked against Brisbane. They failed to score in the final 76 minutes of the match. The attacking potency is there for Stephen Kearney’s men, they just need to gel as an attacking unit.
Corey Norman made an impressive contribution in the place of Lockyer and will look to improve as a player, taking his form into the Broncos’ next game against the North Queensland Cowboys next Friday night.