Bril­liant Bron­cos look real deal for premier­ship

Townsville Bulletin - - SPORT - PETER BADEL BRON­COS SHARKS BRIS­BANE BRON­COS

CAN you hear that? It’s the sound of Wayne Ben­nett’s Bron­cos charg­ing to­wards the premier­ship.

Bris­bane last night sounded an omi­nous warn­ing to lad­der lead­ers Mel­bourne as two- try Tau­tau Moga and a hun­gry Bron­cos for­ward pack left Cronulla’s ti­tle de­fence in tat­ters at Sun­corp Sta­dium.

Be­fore a crowd of 34,552, the Bron­cos juggernaut proved there is life with­out in­jured hooker An­drew McCul­lough with a 32- 10 drub­bing of a Sharks side look­ing wor­ry­ingly weary at the worst pos­si­ble time.

If the Roost­ers lose to Mel­bourne tonight, Bris­bane will of­fi­cially fin­ish the week­end in sec­ond spot on per­cent­ages — po­si­tion­ing them per­fectly to snap an 11- year ti­tle drought.

The Storm are en­ti­tled to premier­ship favouritism but on last night’s ev­i­dence, three weeks be­fore the play­offs, the Bron­cos are the real deal.

This was meant to be a block­buster be­tween two top- four teams but in­stead it be­came a one- sided Sun­corp stitch- up as Moga, Dar­ius Boyd, An­thony Mil­ford and Kodi Niko­rima ter­rorised the sloppy Sharks.

Cronulla warhorse Paul Gallen’s 300th game cel­e­bra­tions turned to tears and Bris­bane have now scored 140 points in their past four games while Ben Hunt’s ef­forts re­plac­ing McCul­lough at hooker are rem­i­nis­cent of the Shaun Ber­ri­gan mas­ter- stroke that in­spired the Bron­cos’ fairy­tale 2006 premier­ship win.

But this was also a win for Bris­bane’s for­wards.

Cronulla’s big- name pack led by An­drew Fi­fita, Wade Gra­ham and Luke Lewis were belted in mid­field as Bron­cos duo Josh McGuire and Matt Gil­lett charged for a com­bined 286 me­tres.

Coach Ben­nett ad­mit­ted on match eve he was con­cerned about the prospect of com­pla­cency af­ter last week’s 54- 0 rout of the Ti­tans. The su­per coach needn’t have wor­ried.

Bris­bane’s start reeked of a team hellbent on win­ning the premier­ship.

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