Success is in the DNA of the Brisbane Broncos

Mark Campbell Roar Guru

By Mark Campbell, Mark Campbell is a Roar Guru

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27 Have your say

    The Broncos joined the NSWRL in 1988. They were the first team to be included from outside of NSW.

    They came with the promise that they would be the only team in Queensland’s south-east region. Soon the Gold Coast-Tweed Giants were announced. However, they played out of NSW. The Broncos weren’t happy, but fortunately for them, this did not hinder their progress.

    Many felt early that the Broncos would dominate. They had the State of Queensland behind them. They had the best young coach going around in Wayne Bennett. They had the King Wally Lewis, and the junior development base was the whole state. They could cherry pick the best. Their future was bright.

    Success does not come easy. The ingredients for success are many: hard work, dedication, persistence, knowledge, skill and luck are needed. Fortunately for the Broncos, they have all these ingredients.

    They won their inaugural grand final in 1992 and followed it up again in 1993. They dominated everyone. 1994 didn’t start to flash for them with an upset loss to South Sydney in the pre-season Toohey’s Cup, but really, the Premiership is where it counts, and there would be more to follow.

    Brisbane Broncos coach Wayne Bennett gives directions during training

    (AAP Image/Dan Peled)

    The competition was looking to expand, and the Broncos were furious. Another team in Brisbane, another in North Queensland. They could see their grip on the state and their influence diminishing. A side in Perth and Auckland took the competition to 20 teams. Brisbane knew this was ridiculous.

    Brisbane believed that there were far too many teams that were not economically viable. They felt that there were far too many Sydney teams and there was not enough talent for a 20 team competition. They were right on all accounts.

    They also knew that Murdoch was going to be bringing cable television to Australia and saw a chance to streamline the competition. They wanted a league with only the best teams. They wanted a Super League.

    The Super League war from 1995–1997 crippled the game. The game survived, but tradition was lost, friendships were broken, and the popularity of the sport declined dramatically. Who knows, if this war had not taken place maybe rugby league would be the number one sport in Australia, not Aussie rules.

    Yes, there are two sides to every conflict and the Brisbane Broncos were only a pawn in the battle between Murchoch and Packer. Both wanted rugby league on their television sets. They both got it.

    At the end of the 1997 season peace was achieved. By the 2000 season, the compromised structure of the NRL took place. A 14 team completion with every team playing home-and-away. Perth, Adelaide, South Queensland, Gold Coast, Hunter Mariners and South Sydney were gone. Wests merged with Balmain, St George with Illawarra and Manly with North Sydney. It was chaos.

    The Broncos had won the 1997 Super League title. It gets counted in the record books, but ask anyone about the 1997 grand final and people remember the Newcastle versus Manly game. This is not to deny the Broncos as Newcastle won a split competition; also, it’s just that this game breathed new life into the game. The game was really on its knees by this point. The Broncos win over the Sharks was more a formality.

    All debate about the 1997 season can pushed aside because the Broncos showed their prowess in 1998 running away with the title against the Bulldogs. They confirmed their place as the number one team. In 2000, they reaffirmed their point. The Broncos were the team to beat. They were the Manchester United of rugby league.

    After this, something strange happened. The Broncos stopped making grand finals. Their next appearance was in 2006. Yes, they won, but they had some fortunate calls. Before Bronco fans react with outrage at such a comment or Melbourne fans complain about the result, remember, that’s the nature of the game. On this day, the Broncos got the rub of the green.

    Darren Lockyer scythes through the defence

    Digital image by Colin Whelan ©

    The absence of Wayne can best describe the next few years. He left and then he came back. The time in between was not the club’s better years.

    In 2015, the club made the grand final again. They were chasing another title. A classic and up until the final couple of seconds they had it won. We all know what happened. Try on the sideline. Missed conversion. Ben Hunt dropped the ball. Thurston field goal. Classic contest. Right up there with the 1989 Balmain versus Canberra grand final and the 1997 Manly versus Newcastle grand final.

    The club has gone close since and will do again in the future. The club continues to do well. They have the most memberships 36,220. They have the highest crowd averages with just short of 32,000 people attending their games. The club makes a profit every year.

    It is important to note, that they are a one team town. One may suggest that they should have more members. The crowds although the best in the league are not as good as they should want. Though, having regular Friday Night and Thursday night games is a curse. Ask South Sydney, and they would agree. If the Broncos get more Sunday games, expect the crowd averages to climb.

    Apart from a complete and utter failure in their administration, the Brisbane Broncos will remain dominant. Even if expansion brings in the Brisbane Bombers, the club will still be successful. Success, it seems is part of the Brisbane Broncos DNA.

    Brisbane Broncos
    First Season: 1988
    Titles: 6* (1992, 1993, 1997*, 1998, 2000 and 2006)
    Note: * The 1997 win is the Super League title.

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    The Crowd Says (27)

    • January 1st 2018 @ 8:00am
      Greg Ambrose said | January 1st 2018 @ 8:00am | ! Report

      The most successful team in history is the Bunnies but they are one of the least successful teams of the last few decades. The Broncos have had mixed success in the last two decades largely because they haven’t been able to sign all the best Queenslanders.

      Luckily the Storm and Cows have entered the scene and have snared the best of the spine. The Sea Beagles were a bit on the soft side and unable to win the comp until we purchased the right players. Four titles came in seven years. Whether I would call in entrenched in the DNA I’m not sure.

      It could be said that success is entrenched in the Storm DNA but it will be interesting to see what happens when Smith and Slater along with the departed Cronk are sitting on the Jason Recliner instead of lacing up the boots.

    • January 1st 2018 @ 8:54am
      Not so super said | January 1st 2018 @ 8:54am | ! Report

      Such an inaccurate picture of an organisation that has underachieved given all of its advantages over its competitors
      Trying to paint them as the good guys that wanted a super league for altruistic means was a good laugh
      Truth is their protectionist policies stymied the game in Brisbane and gave the AFL lions plenty of room to grow in this under serviced RL metropolis

      • Roar Guru

        January 1st 2018 @ 8:55pm
        Nat said | January 1st 2018 @ 8:55pm | ! Report

        Like most of your comments, you have no idea.

    • January 1st 2018 @ 9:31am
      paul said | January 1st 2018 @ 9:31am | ! Report

      It’s completely ludicrous a town the size of Brisbane only has one NRL side, but that’s a testament to the power the Broncos seem to wield in Qld. They have huge advantages in a great facility to play and a one town supporter base but haven’t got the big prize for 11 yeas. That’s under achieving by any measure.

      I also question whether the Broncos will be a dominant side in 2918? They’ve lost a lot of players and those that are left, especially the forwards, aren’t getting any younger and they don’t seem to have a lot of depth. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if they didn’t make the finals this year.

      In my book the 1989 GF remains the best I’ve ever seen. The Broncos loss to the The Cowboys was only a classic for the last 20 minutes, regardless what a hyped up Fatty Vautin had to say. The other 60 minutes lacked the attack that the ’89 GF had.

      • January 1st 2018 @ 7:17pm
        steven said | January 1st 2018 @ 7:17pm | ! Report

        jezz paul you didn’t do your research very good when you made the comment about the bronco forwards not having much depth in fact they have the 4 most promising young forwards in the NRL coming through their ranks ie andre savelio from England who many are tipping to be the a very good 2nd row payne haas who at 19 has already been put in NSW emerging origin squad by brad fittler david fafita the cousin of he older david fafita is touted to be better player than Andrew and mat lodge who killed them in the qld cup so I think there forward depth is very good

    • January 1st 2018 @ 10:10am
      Oingo Boingo said | January 1st 2018 @ 10:10am | ! Report

      I doubt anyone besides Broncos and Cowboys supporters genuinely hold the 2015 GF in the same regard as 1989 .
      The fact that the Broncos do have a such a massive advantage, but in recent years have failed to obtain another title, demonstrates how incredibly hard it is to win one .

    • January 1st 2018 @ 10:17am
      Glenn said | January 1st 2018 @ 10:17am | ! Report

      Gee Paul you’ve projected well into the future talking about 2918, doubt if humans will still be around by then having eaten and consumed themselves out of their own home.

      • January 1st 2018 @ 12:41pm
        Paul said | January 1st 2018 @ 12:41pm | ! Report

        A bad or a good New Years Eve Glen, depending how you look at it! At least the keys are close together.

    • January 1st 2018 @ 11:34am
      Grobelaar said | January 1st 2018 @ 11:34am | ! Report

      1 premiership in 17 years . The DNA of success

      • Roar Rookie

        January 2nd 2018 @ 9:56am
        Gaz said | January 2nd 2018 @ 9:56am | ! Report

        And the ‘one town advantage’?

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