The years are starting to roll on since the Broncos’ last title in 2006. What are the main factors behind the drought for one of Australian sport’s most successful clubs?
Since the last Broncos title the winners have been the Storm (two legitimate, two taken away for salary cap breaches), Roosters (two), Sea Eagles (two) and the Saints, Cowboys, Sharks and Rabbits with one each.
Ironically it looks like a list of clubs with the weakest juniors in the league.
The Broncos have all the wealth and facilities any team needs to succeed. For much of this time they have had one of the game’s great coaches and huge crowds to cheer them on.
The Broncos have plenty of top juniors to draw on and a very stable era free from major turmoil.
Consider some of the issues faced by plenty of their rivals over this period.
The Knights have been impotent due to a lack of quality juniors emerging and by being Tinklered.
The Wests Tigers have had all sorts of financial and other problems.
The Storm, Dogs, Eels and Sharks have had major salary cap or drug issues which have taken them out of contention at times.
The Titans were on the way out and rescued and the Sea Eagles have had too many dramas to list in one article.
The Eels and Raiders are still waiting for some champion juniors to emerge since their last titles in 1986 and 1994 respectively.
So, why haven’t the Broncos been able to capitalise on this situation?
I can only really come up with one main factor: recruitment. The big five Queenslanders of Billy Slater, Greg Inglis, Cam Smith, John Thurston and Cooper Cronk played a huge number of games in this era – and all won premierships – but none of them with the Broncos.
Add one of these players to the team and it’s easy to imagine a title or two. What if Smith and Thurston spent a decade at the Broncos?
The Storm and Cows are brought right back to the field and the Broncos are dramatically stronger. Maybe the last 12 years would have been similar to the previous 12 and Bennett is the undisputed GOAT?
Since 2006 Inglis, Daly Cherry-Evans, Cronk, Thurston and Cam Munster have played starring roles in grand final wins in the halves for teams other than the Broncos after leaving Brisbane.
That’s close to the top five halves of the current era and some of the best from any era.
Is this just bad luck or bad management?