The Roar
The Roar


ANALYSIS: Reynolds hurt, Carrigan in hip-drop strife and Kevvie rages - but did Broncos just enhance premiership case?

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11th May, 2023
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This was a defeat for Brisbane, but it might not feel like one. Though the Broncos have won eight times, they will learn more from this defeat than from almost any of those victories: they can now call themselves premiership contenders, having given one of the toughest teams in the comp a real shake on their own turf.

Despite going down 24-16, there was no doubt that the Broncos are right up there with the best.

They responded to multiple setbacks, including the loss of captain Adam Reynolds early on, only losing late to a Storm team that eventually came over the top of them following multiple sin bins.

Herbie Farnworth, Tom Flegler and Pat Carrigan all did ten minute stints – the latter for a clear hip-drop that might see him miss time, potentially including Origin, given a similar incident late last year that ended Jackson Hastings’ season. 

The great difference, in the end, was discipline, and according to Broncos coach Kevin Walters, the officiating – not least the call to bin Carrigan.

(Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)

“I’m pretty frustrated,” he said. “We came here to play football, that’s what we’ve been doing all year, and I just don’t think that we got a game of football.

“We had three guys sin binned. It’s hard to win when that happens. Were they fair sin binnings? I won’t make any comments because my contract isn’t big enough to pay the fine.”


“He (Carrigan) slid down his legs. You wouldn’t like to see that happen in a Grand Final. For someone to get sin binned for that. What the NRL want you to do now is slide down the legs and Patty did that. 

“Anyway, good luck to the Storm, they deserved to win. The good thing from our point of view is that we’ve come here, tough environment, and last time we came here we got beat by 50, so I reckon we’ve made some improvements.

“There’s been some commentary around our team, that we’re front end bullies. We weren’t that tonight. We were on the back foot all night. When we get it right, we’ve got a hell of a footy team here, so look out.”

Talisman Reynolds was left concussed early after landing on his head while chasing a kick from Farnworth. Nelson Asofa-Solomona also left the game in clear discomfort, holding his ribs.

There were initial fears that it was a much worse injury for the halfback, who reported to medics that he had no feeling in his hands and feet, and is known to have been carrying a neck complaint.

Walters confirmed that he will miss next week, while Storm coach Craig Bellamy couldn’t confirm the extent of the damage to Asofa-Solomona.


Melbourne will be thrilled to record a win, especially after their loss to Souths last week. Though it took them time to find their best, when they did it was classic Storm.

A late try, the second of two for Will Warbrick, was a trademark piece of improvisation from Jahrome Hughes, who ignored a set restart to kick early and find his winger.

“It was a strange game,” said Bellamy. “There was so many 50/50 things that happened and it seemed to go for a hell of a long time too. It was like an AFL game in the time it took. 

“We wanted to do a couple of basic things for us to do well, and we did those reasonably well. We didn’t get off to the greatest start and the Broncos really locked us down in our half, but at the end of the day, we knuckled down and that was the rhythm for our defence for the rest of the game.”

Munster back on song

This match was a story of two Queensland Origin players, one established, one hopeful. Munster was back to his best while Reece Walsh maintained his campaign for a Maroon jumper.

Walsh underlined his case to be Queensland fullback, while Munster rebounded to his best after a difficult evening at Suncorp last week.


Munster doesn’t have many off-nights, so it’s hard to judge how they affect him, but it seemed as if the five eighth was intent on righting the wrongs of Magic Round. 

He was dreadful last week against Souths, having next to no impact on the game. From minute one tonight, he looked far more interested and impactful, challenging the line constantly in his trademark, impish style.

His first try was more of a lack of defensive organisation from the Broncos, but Munster’s desire to hit the ball at pace and get over the stripe was there for all to see.

His second line break, which Justin Olam should have converted into a try, was classic Munster with extravagant dummies and swift hands to free the PNG centre. Unfortunately for the Storm, Walsh pulled off the try-saver.

Walsh has to play Origin

If there had been any lingering doubt about the form candidate for the Queensland fullback role, Reece Walsh removed them.


There was one hairy moment where he was reprieved by a late offside call having dropped a bomb, but outside of that, this was a stellar showing from Walsh.

If there has been a criticism of his play since returning to the Broncos, it would be that he has been something of a flat track bully. Against Souths, he was totally absent.

There’s fewer tougher assignments in the NRL than Melbourne away, and Walsh turned up here. His kicking was a particular high point, taking up the slack after Reynolds departed.

Defence was excellent too, with the bravest of brave shots on Olam to deny a try. There was a whiff of a shoulder charge about it, but the Bunker didn’t intervene. He was less fortunate from a Munster-esque ball steal, which was a second out from being one of the plays of the season, but was wiped off for a second man in.

In attack, Walsh was playing the hits. He put a try on a platter for Jesse Arthars and constantly when the Broncos were able to put on their shape.

The Maroons are famed for their loyalty and usually err on the side of incumbency, but Billy Slater will be the main target if he ignores Walsh in favour of Kalyn Ponga and Queensland lose. 


Ponga is bang out of form, has been injured and playing as a five eighth. Walsh has been excellent, is fit and is playing fullback.