Don’t tell me you didn’t notice a significant difference in the way the Broncos played last night compared to some of the stuff they have produced in recent times.
The Brisbane boys rolled up the sleeves and played an aggressive, no-nonsense, forward-dominated brand of football, to defeat the courageous Cowboys 20-10 in Townsville last night.
Had the Broncos played it any different, or with any less physical intent, I dare say the Cowboys could’ve beaten them on the night.
The home side were aided by a heavy 9-2 penalty count. They dominated possession and field position for long periods of the match. They ended up with 55% of the ball. The Cowboys completed a whopping 34 sets of six, compared to the Broncos measly 25 completions with the ball. If you complete 34 sets of six in a game of football, you are winning the game 99% of the time.
The Cowboys threw everything in their attacking repertoire at the Brisbane try-line. They were given every chance to secure a win.
It’s just that the home side were denied a victory by a very determined and committed Bronco outfit.
The Broncos defensive effort during the second half was outstanding. It wasn’t so great in the first half. They were a little ragged and at times appeared somewhat nervous and unsure. Conceding 52 points to Parramatta the previous weekend will put you in that negative mindset. But as the game wore on, the Brisbane boys got better and better with their defensive line.
Even over the concluding stages where they had the result in their keeping, they defended their try line stoically for several back-to-back sets of six.
In attack, things looked very different. Over the back half of this season, the Broncos have not looked anything like a Wayne Bennett football team. Last night though, they played more like a team headed into the finals series.
The opening gambit from the Brisbane team was powerful and direct. There was little ball movement. The Brisbane forwards set out to dominate their opponents in the middle of the field. As a result every Brisbane forward in the starting pack ended up running the ball for over 100m. Lock forward Josh Maguire was outstanding and led the way with 177m of valuable territory gains. The two big boys at the back, Darius Boyd and Corey Oates also contributed to the hard work. Boyd in particular ran for 113m in just one half of football before succumbing to a hamstring injury right on half time. He did not return to the field, but had already gone a long way to helping his team set up a winning lead.
Yes, the Broncos scored a couple of flashy tries. They are very dangerous at their best and have the ability to create points from anywhere on the field.
However, this win was not built on “flash”, it was built on “fire”.
The fire in the belly had returned to the Broncos. They were prepared to win by playing tough for the full 80 minutes.
It showed in their running game. It definitely showed in their commitment to defence.
We have marveled at the courage of the Cowboys in recent times. They have been super despite their injury situation and obvious fatigue. They didn’t play badly at all last night, and again, Cowboy fans should feel proud of the team’s efforts.
So too should Broncos fans. Their team overcame a lot to win last night. Had they been any less prepared, they might not have withstood what was thrown at them in this match.
Normal service has now been resumed in Brisbane. They looked more like a Wayne Bennett coached team.
With a top four position now secure, the old Coach can set his sights on yet another shot at the Premiership title.