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.
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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.