Brilliant Broncos look real deal for premiership
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.