What’s up with these flat Broncos?
Ben Te'o in action during the NRL Round 26, Brisbane Broncos v Manly Sea Eagles. AAP Image/Action Photographics/Charles Knight
Picture this scenario. It’s 16-12 in the 79th minute; Broncos have the ball on their 20 metre line and need to go the length of the field to win the game. Now sit back and think who will do it for them?
Canterbury have a Ben Barba, South’s an Inglis, the Storm a Slater, Tigers a Marshall and the Cowboys a Bowen. But who does Brisbane have that can create something from nothing? Or, maybe the question should be, will Brisbane be willing to create something from nothing?
A lot has been spoken about the Broncos’ defence not being what it was during the first half of the season but with the calibre of players in their forward pack it’s something that can be found very easily, as seen in that first half against Canterbury where it should have been 14-0 come half time.
What can’t be found very easily however is creativity and points. The fact of the matter is even though Brisbane have conceded a fair few points, they have haven’t scored a lot and, believe me, it hasn’t come through lack of possession.
Take the Bulldogs last week for example. Other than a try off a fortunate grubber which took a wrong turn for Corey Norman and a very bad missed tackle by Peter Wallace, Canterbury would only have scored 10 points. But that’s the issue, they had a player that could make something from nothing and is adventurous enough to take the risk.
On the other hand, other than a Justin Hodges chip kick, the Broncos offered no spark, no fizz. They stood flat in attack and really asked no questions of the Canterbury defence but used pure muscle.
What does it come down to? Well last year Peter Wallace had one job and that was to catch the ball and pass it to Darren Lockyer, who as we know was a tactical master, planning and setting traps with his attack (something Wallace isn’t doing).
Now Wallace seems to be trying to create everything. One of the big strengths early in the season from Norman was his running game because he was able to receive early ball, but in the last two months, for some unknown reason, Peter Wallace has been trying, well, a little too hard.
Brisbane’s strength in attack is their power, speed and mixture of experience and youth. Players like Norman, Gillette, Hoffman, Reed and Hunt need early ball and need the opportunity to unleash the unpredictability that comes with being young.
Anthony Griffin has to tell his veterans to control, take the team forward and then let these kids have some fun. Yes you do need to know when not to throw a pass – and that will come through experience – but these kids were chosen for reason. Give them the opportunity to show why they were chosen and the skills they possess, because they have some of the best in the game.
It’s time the Broncos open a new can of whoop arse, one that has some fizz to it.