Brisbane have won one game since the season resumption and they've been marred by off-field controversy. Coach Anthony Seibold couldn’t even be there due to a COVID-19 bubble breach, with Peter Gentle taking his place. You wouldn’t have known any of it after a dominant first half against top four contenders Canberra.
The Raiders are known for their first-class defence, and tonight was no exception. They had just 37% first half possession and were forced to lay 33 first half tackles in their defensive 20, but they stood tall, trailing by a slender two points at the interim.
Broncos bring down Rapana
The Broncos opened the scoring off the back of a Kotoni Staggs run through the backfield. Staggs stabbed a perfectly weighted grubber to the in-goal on the go, and Jesse Arthars reaped the rewards.
George Williams threw Canberra’s counter punch in the form of a looping rainbow pass to Jordan Rapana. The flighted ball lured Arthars off his line as a result the left corner had Rapana’s name written all over it.
What followed was an unprecedented display of Brisbane dominance. The Broncos had five straight sets of ad-lib footy with offloads galore. Canberra could only cling on for so long, and the purple patch culminated in a Herbie Farnworth try after Nick Cotric fumbled Darius Boyd’s grubber.
What unfolded in the second half had to be seen to be believed, and was typical of Brisbane’s season.
The Broncos imploded.
The team that led at half-time was nowhere to be seen. Canberra scored tries for fun: a whitewash in every sense of the word in their special white “Black Dog Institute” jerseys.
John Bateman stepped through the line and found inside runner Williams to hit the lead; from there, the Raiders never looked back.
That try came in the 45th minute; by the 67th minute Canberra had transformed the 8-6 half time deficit into a 36-8 walloping.
The tries started flowing alarming quickly and easily. Even when the Broncos had more numbers, Cotric waltzed over. Soon after, there’d be gaping holes.
Bateman and Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad scored with ease. Corey Harawira-Naera was gifted a 60-metre run which lay the foundations for Cotric’s double.
There could’ve been more too. Birthday boy Rapana had two left corner tries disallowed.
Even with a lead of 28 points, Canberra kept their foot on the throat. Farnworth was on the cusp of a certain consolation try for the Broncos, but had the ball ripped from his grasp in the in-goal.
Just when it appeared there could finally be a glimmer of light to shine on Brisbane’s dark, dark year, it vanished in the blink of an eye. Things are going from worse to much worse and a dismal second half, where their defence was in disarray, means they’re now 1-11 since the season resumption.
To go with his two tries, Cotric picked up an astounding 14 tackle-breaks and two line-breaks. The Raiders’ win keeps them in touch with the top four on points, and they picked up a much-needed for-and-against boost, but it still lacks sorely when contrasted with the fourth-placed Roosters.