What a difference a week can make for the Brisbane Broncos

mastermind5991 Roar Guru

By mastermind5991, mastermind5991 is a Roar Guru

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    They say a week can be a long time in footy.

    Well, for the Brisbane Broncos, that may have certainly been the case.

    The Broncos entered their clash against the North Queensland Cowboys off the back of a week of criticism following their dismal season-opening loss to the St George Illawarra Dragons, in which their new-look halves pairing of Anthony Milford and Kodi Nikorima failed to fire so much of a shot.

    The decision by coach Wayne Bennett to start Sam Thaiday at hooker ahead of regular number nine Andrew McCullough was also questionable, and to some, laughable.

    Their signing of controversial forward Matthew Lodge also became a huge talking point given the family he terrorised in New York in October 2015 are yet to be fully compensated for his violent rampage three years ago.

    Captain Darius Boyd said the 34-12 loss to the Dragons was “un-Bronco-like”, with the players made to sweat it out during a training session in the lead-up to their first home game of the season against the Cowboys.

    By way of that training session, coach Bennett put the onus on his side to bounce back against their northern rivals, which they did after overcoming a slow start to post a 24-20 victory and register their first win for the season, breathing life back into the club’s premiership chances in the process.

    And it’s fair to say that the club has two things to thank – young prop Tevita Pangai Junior and the right-side goalpost – both of which combined to prevent a certain try to Cowboys forward Scott Bolton in the dying minutes.

    With the Cowboys trailing 24-20 with less than two minutes left, Bolton received an inside pass from Johnathan Thurston and was certain to score underneath the posts to give the Cowboys what would have been a 26-24 victory (assuming Thurston would have been successful with the conversion).

    However, in what could go down as the biggest play of the Broncos’ season, prop Pangai Junior lunged from behind to send Bolton crashing into the padding of the right-side goalpost, forcing an error in the process and giving his side possession with 90 seconds remaining.

    Earlier, the Broncos fell behind 8-0 and lost centre Jordan Kahu to a jaw injury (which has ruled him out for up to six weeks), and it appeared as though they would be heading for another soul-crushing defeat.

    However, Pangai Junior would score their first try of the night with 20 minutes gone, sparking a run of 18 unanswered points which would see them take an 18-8 lead into halftime.

    But the Cowboys refused to surrender, and when Jake Granville scored with less than ten minutes left, it was game on.

    Recent clashes between the Broncos and Cowboys, including the golden point grand final thriller of 2015, have been very close and it was therefore no surprise that another grandstand finish was on the cards.

    Eventually, the Broncos held on to bank their first win for the season, putting to rest a week of criticism that followed their embarrassing loss to the Dragons, rated by many as one of the club’s worst performances under coach Wayne Bennett for a while.

    But if recent seasons are anything to go by, then that huge loss at Kogarah Oval last week might be the spark the club needs if it is to break what is currently their longest premiership drought.

    Matt Lodge

    (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

    In particular, I want to focus on their 2006 and 2015 seasons, which started disastrously for the Broncos but ended with their two most recent grand final appearances to date.

    In the opening round of the 2006 season, the Broncos copped a 36-4 thrashing by the Cowboys at home (to date, it remains their worst ever defeat against their northern cousins), but only the New Zealand Warriors’ salary cap breach in which it was docked four premiership points at the start of that season prevented the Broncos from finishing the round in last place.

    They were to suffer eleven losses (including one final) in 2006; as we are about to find out, it would be the most by a premiership-winning side in NRL history.

    Among the losses were those to the Cowboys (for a second time, in Round 20), eventual wooden spooners the Rabbitohs (in which the Broncos were missing key players to Origin commitments) and to a second-string Wests Tigers side, who were missing key players, at home.

    They also suffered a hat-trick of losses to the St George Illawarra Dragons, including in the qualifying final at Suncorp Stadium by 20-4, which extended the Broncos’ winless streak in finals to seven dating back to 2002.

    However, the Broncos would then win their next three finals to march to their sixth premiership flag, culminating in a win over a Melbourne Storm side which no-one knew were illegally over the salary cap at the time.

    In mid-2014, it was announced that Wayne Bennett would return to the club following his recent flings with the Dragons and Newcastle Knights, and his return to Red Hill in 2015 would spark high expectations for the club.

    The super coach would receive a rude homecoming as his side copped a 36-6 thrashing by reigning premiers the South Sydney Rabbitohs, who were starting to slowly regress following their 2014 premiership triumph; this result saw the Broncos finish Round 1 in last place on the ladder.

    However, the Broncos would win 15 of their next 17 matches to claim the top spot on the ladder, before losing four of their last six regular-season matches to settle for second place behind the Sydney Roosters.

    They would then win their two finals matches, against the Cowboys (in golden point extra time) and the Roosters, to advance to their seventh grand final, where the Cowboys would await in what would be the first ever all-Queensland grand final in NRL history.

    The Broncos looked set to break their premiership drought when it led by 16-12 in the final minute, only for the Cowboys’ Kyle Feldt to score a miraculous try in the corner in the dying seconds to level the scores.

    The missed conversion from Johnathan Thurston would prove a let-off for the Broncos, and for the first time since 1989, extra time would be utilised in the grand final.

    But extra time would then get off to the worst possible start for the Broncos when Ben Hunt knocked on from the kick-off, and when Thurston kicked the premiership-winning field goal for the Cowboys, the Broncos were left to taste their first defeat in seven grand final appearances.

    Back on topic now, and while the Broncos will look forward to next Friday night’s clash against the Wests Tigers at Campbelltown Stadium with confidence, no one will be fired up to face them more than forward Matthew Lodge, who played 12 games for the club between 2014 and 2015.

    Lodge was only 20 when he went on the aforementioned drunken rampage in New York, threatening a female tourist before threatening a family who to this day continue to be haunted by his very actions.

    The Tigers wasted little time in terminating his contract and he would spend the next two years in the NRL wilderness before re-emerging with the Broncos for this season.

    The NRL has been criticised for allowing Lodge to re-enter the game while his victims have yet to be fully compensated for his actions. It also comes as they have yet to give Todd Carney the green light to return, the former NSW Origin five-eighth having previously been sacked by three clubs in the past.

    Given the reception Lodge copped in the Broncos’ Round 1 loss to the Dragons at Kogarah Oval, it wouldn’t be surprising if he is again booed and/or jeered when the Broncos step foot onto Campbelltown Stadium for the first time since 2014 next Friday night.

    As far as on-field matters are concerned, the Tigers side the Broncos will face will be a vastly different one to the side they thrashed 36-0 at Suncorp Stadium in Round 11 last year.

    They’ll also be facing former player Benji Marshall, who is back at the Tigers after his one-year stint at Red Hill in which he helped to mentor the Broncos’ halves both on and off the field.

    A win will put the Broncos’ season into the black and with clashes against expected non-finalists the Titans, Knights, Warriors, Rabbitohs, Bulldogs and Sea Eagles to come before their Round 13 bye, this would set them up well for a shot at a seventh premiership title.

    And who knows, two things – the desperate efforts of forward Tevita Pangai Junior and the padding of the southern right-side goalpost at Suncorp Stadium – could prove to be their saviours in retrospect if they go on to break their longest ever premiership drought and lift their seventh NRL title on September 30.

    Getting hassled by a parent or partner about spending too much time playing video games? Now, you can tell them the story of how some ordinary gamers scored $225k for just seven weeks of work.

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    The Crowd Says (28)

    • March 18th 2018 @ 9:22am
      Paul said | March 18th 2018 @ 9:22am | ! Report

      Gee you’re reading a lot into one game. The question that needs answering is, which is the real Broncos in 2018, the side who played the Dragons or the side who played the Cowboys? Obviously only time will tell. Personally, I have my doubts because, as you pointed out, a good tackle and goal post stopped a likely Cowboys victory.

    • March 18th 2018 @ 10:10am
      Forty Twenty said | March 18th 2018 @ 10:10am | ! Report

      The Lodge issue isn’t going to go away any time soon after reading about him in the papers today. Honesty doesn’t appear to be one of his traits either.

      • March 18th 2018 @ 11:11am
        Paul C said | March 18th 2018 @ 11:11am | ! Report

        Forty Twenty,
        One shouldn’t always believe all that one reads ( I am sure you don’t). There seems to be a “Kill Bill” type situation here in the form of “Kill Matthew Lodge & Broncos”. I even heard Macca on ABC radio mention Lodge & how the NRL should be embarrassed by allowing him back into the game again. Where was all of the Press/Media/Armchair Critics when Russell Packer returned to play in the NRL after a Gaol sentence that almost involved him being deported to NZ after his release??
        I can see a very selective campaign being run here to keep this situation in the headlines. A story usually only last 6 or 7 days but if a follow up arrives it may even run another 7 days. While Journos can sit in front of their key boards & not really physically get out & do honest research this will go on infinitum.

        • Roar Guru

          March 18th 2018 @ 11:32am
          Nat said | March 18th 2018 @ 11:32am | ! Report

          Paul, let them have believe what thy want, it is Sydneysiders writing for Sydneysiders where facts don’t get the clicks that speculation based opinion does. It’s white noise to those that matter.

          • March 18th 2018 @ 1:40pm
            no one in particular said | March 18th 2018 @ 1:40pm | ! Report

            Yep, its a Sydney conspiracy.

            It’s great that the Queensland inferiority complex has evolved from just Origin time to year round

            • Roar Guru

              March 18th 2018 @ 2:17pm
              Nat said | March 18th 2018 @ 2:17pm | ! Report

              Conspiracy? No that would infer the event didn’t happen. I’m saying that opinions are reported as facts because it suits the audience. I think the inferiority complex lies with you champ. 10/11 SoO supremacy or 23/13 in total and per capita, Qld offers more economically, tourism and sporting teams/athletes than NSW. Look it up. You do lead the nation in housing prices so that’s something.

              • March 18th 2018 @ 2:33pm
                no one in particular said | March 18th 2018 @ 2:33pm | ! Report

                What opinions are reported as facts? The video is an opinion? The feelings of the victims are an opinion? The feelings of his ex-girlfriend are an opinion?

                Your opinion on Lodge would be totally different if he played for the Roosters or Sharks, or any Sydney team

              • Roar Guru

                March 18th 2018 @ 3:47pm
                Renegade said | March 18th 2018 @ 3:47pm | ! Report

                100% agree noip.

                I can’t believe the ridiculousness of broncos fans through all this…. they sit there and say “Gallen is a grub” for his on-field behavior….. yet want to support a lowlife’s image as a Sydney media beat-up..WOW.

                Seriously unbelievable…

              • Roar Guru

                March 19th 2018 @ 9:38am
                Nat said | March 19th 2018 @ 9:38am | ! Report

                Best you go through my comments and show me where I have said I like Lodge or even want him in the team. I have said repeatedly that he has done everything that has been asked of him. Whether you or I agree that it is enough is beside the point. What opinions? He’s never shown remorse-wrong. He has never done counselling – wrong. He’s never tried to contact the victims – wrong. There was a letter published in AAP weeks ago where he apologised and has tried come to an agreement re payment. Both of which sent via their lawyer as he is not allowed to contact the victims. In any situation, no ones makes any type of reimbursement until a plan can be reached if you don’t have the funds required to make payment in full. There have been multiple press releases both from the Broncos about the intention to register him last year, long before rnd 1, but in every article most authors just trot out the same headlines every time they reference the Broncos. I’m 100% on the side of the victims and if want to get paid playing NRL is the only way that will happen.

                Renegade, just last week I highlighted my thoughts on Gallen. I openly admit I don’t like him but that’s an opinion formed in the early days for being a grub. If you deny that, check out his judicial history, it’s not just foul play, it’s grubby play, reefing at stitches and racial abuse along with others has seen him spend half a season suspended. The “I didn’t know” Danks scandal. BS and suspended for it. That was the past, today, it is the garbage that comes out of his mouth but I do respect he has one of the best forwards in the comp. So I can separate the two which is what I do with Lodge.

          • March 18th 2018 @ 2:21pm
            Forty Twenty said | March 18th 2018 @ 2:21pm | ! Report

            If the story in todays paper which covers three pages is not true then Lodge will be able to sue for big bickies. Don’t hold your breath for the court case.

            • Roar Guru

              March 18th 2018 @ 3:05pm
              Emcie said | March 18th 2018 @ 3:05pm | ! Report

              The case that’s already been through the courts? News papers are very careful with how they present stories, they’re not gonna leave themselves open for a lawsuit

        • Roar Guru

          March 18th 2018 @ 12:51pm
          Wolly said | March 18th 2018 @ 12:51pm | ! Report

          You answered your own question there. Packer served jail time and Lodge has not. Is that Lodge’s fault? Definitely not. He could turn up to any jail, get down on both knees and beg for them to incarcerate him and he’d just get turned away. Out of his control.

          The NRL didn’t handle this situation as well as they could have.

        • March 18th 2018 @ 2:18pm
          Forty Twenty said | March 18th 2018 @ 2:18pm | ! Report

          I don’t believe everything but this story looks very credible just like the story about his home invasion in the U.S.

        • March 18th 2018 @ 2:41pm
          Mike Dugg said | March 18th 2018 @ 2:41pm | ! Report

          The truth about Lodge’s history hurts I guess

    • March 18th 2018 @ 10:13am
      no one in particular said | March 18th 2018 @ 10:13am | ! Report

      They are post padding away from being 0-2

    • Roar Guru

      March 18th 2018 @ 11:18am
      Nat said | March 18th 2018 @ 11:18am | ! Report

      Class shines through and the Broncos are only going to get better as their full team hits the park. Losing Kahu sucks but it looks like Isaako has a good boot on him. Opacic, while young, is a very good defensive center and they will get Bird back the week after. Wests played/defended very well. Benji has come into his own and I’m sure all the hill will be full at Campbeltown to get behind the Tigers early run. However, the Broncos won’t play as badly as Melbourne and Roosters did in the last few weeks. The bus stops here Tigers fans 🙂

    • March 18th 2018 @ 11:55am
      Kudos said | March 18th 2018 @ 11:55am | ! Report

      I don’t think Brisbane looked that good. They were lucky more than deserving winners. The difference was a blatant forward pass try and a tackle by the goal posts. Cowboys and broncos was just like sharks dragons game where there was so many self inflicted errors from both sides that it is hard to read anything overly positive out of it.

      • March 18th 2018 @ 12:43pm
        Paul C said | March 18th 2018 @ 12:43pm | ! Report

        Kudos, it was a great game played in the right spirit by two very committed teams. There was more to the game than the alleged forward pass to Oates. There were numerous times when dummy halves threw questionable passes. Go back & look at the replay of JT’s pass to Cooper in that try? It was suspect too? The 2 TV channels did not question it at all? Scott Bolton didn’t run into the goal post upright, he was tackled by Pangai & forced into it. Lazy Journos pick on one angle & forget about the game. It was 80 minutes of high class footy not to be confused with just two incidents reported.

        • March 18th 2018 @ 12:55pm
          Kudos said | March 18th 2018 @ 12:55pm | ! Report

          Yeah i hear you, but I still feel cows were the better side and broncos got lucky. Dodgy calls happened on both sides though, I’m glad this happened in round two not a semi final.

          • Roar Guru

            March 18th 2018 @ 1:18pm
            Nat said | March 18th 2018 @ 1:18pm | ! Report

            It is lucky to score more tries (and have as many disallowed) after receiving 5/16 penalties on the night, less possession, field position and make 70 more tackles then the opposition. Just luck they held the best forward in the game to 133m. I would consider it luck that 2/3 tries are from off-the-ground rebounds just to be in position to make the game close.

            • Roar Rookie

              March 18th 2018 @ 1:37pm
              Matthew Pearce said | March 18th 2018 @ 1:37pm | ! Report

              Extremely lucky. We were so lucky to play better for longer and score more points, despite all the disallowed/bombed tries and the lopsided penalty count.

              Wonder what we have to do to actually be given credit.

      • March 18th 2018 @ 1:04pm
        Roberto said | March 18th 2018 @ 1:04pm | ! Report

        Up against a 5-11 penalty count and were ‘lucky’? kudos you have no idea

      • March 18th 2018 @ 8:30pm
        thomas c said | March 18th 2018 @ 8:30pm | ! Report

        I gotta say. As fancied as they are, the cowboys haven’t looked great the last couple weeks. It’s possible that JT’s absence last year has made Michael Morgan more of a leader and a bit of team talisman.

      • Roar Rookie

        March 18th 2018 @ 10:08pm
        William Dalton Davis said | March 18th 2018 @ 10:08pm | ! Report

        Oh please. I’ll admit it wasn’t their best match up over the past 3 seasons but don’t compare it to the trash that was Dragons vs Sharks. Watching Manly put up 50 was better than that display.

    • March 18th 2018 @ 1:12pm
      Brian said | March 18th 2018 @ 1:12pm | ! Report

      It shouldn’t have come down to the goal post at the end. The refs did their best to keep the game close with an 11-5 penalty count and a 60/40 possession split in the Cow’s favour… yet their pack still got dominated by ours. Lolo needs to play more mins otherwise the cows are officially in trouble for the next 8 years post JT.

      • March 18th 2018 @ 3:37pm
        ken gargett said | March 18th 2018 @ 3:37pm | ! Report

        agreed. taumalolo should have been on early in the 2nd half with the cowboys banging on the broncos line. he’d have been near impossible to stop. an error by green for me. he seems to be rigid in how he operates the bench.
        aside from the first ten minutes, where it looked like more of the same rubbish from week one, the broncos were the dominant side. not sure what game some people were watching. could have been much further up if they did have some luck.
        i’m not sure i’d say it was the refs that kept the cowboys in the game. i thought it was a superhuman effort by JT. without him, that game would have been done and dusted much earlier.
        that last try was a piece of luck, for sure, but so was the cowboys first, angled bounce off a leg.
        JT deserved better for his efforts but i thought that the broncs deserved the win.

        • March 18th 2018 @ 3:57pm
          ken gargett said | March 18th 2018 @ 3:57pm | ! Report

          i meant that last ‘non-try’, of course.

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