A second half point scoring rampage from the Brisbane Broncos has enabled them to consolidate their fourth position on the NRL ladder, and in the process ending the Bulldogs season six rounds before the semi finals. As the Broncos come up with the goods to secure a comfortable 42-12 victory over a trying Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs side at Suncorp Stadium on Thursday night.
Hasler’s Last Minute Reshuffle
The Bulldogs needed to do something out of the ordinary to keep their season alive. Hasler decided that interchange player Matt Frawley would start the game at halfback. An outside of the box call which forced Moses Mybe to play hooker and Michael Lichaa to inject himself off the bench later on in the first half. The away team looked to maybe cause an upset in the early exchanges. Marcelo Montoya crashing over for his seventh try of the season, off the back a terrific passing game from Josh Reynolds and Moses Mybe. Chase Stanley felt at ease with his sideline conversion as the Bulldogs raced to an early 6-nil lead.
The Momentum Shift
The Bulldogs were the better side in the opening 20. Forcing the Broncos to give away their direct style of attack as the Broncos found it difficult to find their stride. Execution was letting them down. Multiple kicks going dead in the in goal but the Broncos transformed into too a completely different side for the rest of the first period. Deep in their own territory it was one of the most underrated men in our game whose vision sparked the Broncos attack into gear. Andrew McCullough is his name. Out of absolutely nothing, McCullough spotted the Bulldogs defence napping as he raced towards halfway and threw a perfect pass to his flying centre/three-quarter Tautau Moga. Marcelo Montoya’s ankle tap on Moga couldn’t break the thrilling stride of the Broncos young gun, as he bolted 50 metres to get Brisbane a crucial four pointer. Jordan Kahu added the extra two points which locked the scores up at 6-all.
It was proving difficult to split these two clubs. Who were both chancing their arm in attack and the defence at times was hard to crack. The last five minutes of the first period would not only dictate where this game would go. But would determine the direction of where both teams were heading in 2017. After forcing an error from Josh Morris, the Broncos yet again scored another try out of nothing. Ben Hunt conjured a brilliant individual effort inside the Bulldogs 20 metre line. Minutes later the Broncos produced a few quick play the balls and peppered the Bulldogs left side defence with an amazing passing game which gave Jordan Kahu the perfect platform to score his seventh try of the season. Kahu added the extra two points as Brisbane went into the break with 16-6 lead over Canterbury.
Taking Control and the Second Half Onslaught
The Bulldogs defended on their own goal line for majority of the second half. The Broncos forced multiple goal line drop outs in a row. A brilliant Tautau Moga line break enabled the Broncos to set up camp in the Bulldogs half. After repeated penalties inside Bulldogs territory, Wayne Bennett and his troops would only crack a strong Bulldogs defensive live with a penalty conversion from Kahu to extend their lead by 18-6. The pressure eventually got to the Belmore boys as Brisbane posted four tries inside the last 22 minutes of the game. Firstly Kodi Nikorima scored off the back of a simple scrum play, James Roberts showed off his speed and skill for his double and Josh McGuire was assisted by perfectly waited grubber kick towards the in goal by Andrew McCullough who was outstanding for Brisbane. If Brisbane can display this scintillating style of attack against teams located in the top four, then they have every chance to go the distance and lift the Provan Summons trophy in October.
The Bulldogs 2017 Campaign is Over
The Bulldogs hardly saw the football in the second half and were forced to make almost 60 tackles more than the home side. Yet again their downfall was there attack. The handling errors provided no aid for Canterbury who found it nearly impossible to shift the momentum of the match. When Adam Blair was sin binned in the last 10 minutes of the game the Bulldogs took advantage of a 12 man Broncos side with a converted try to Chase Stanley. Attacking opportunities were few and far between. But when they were down in the Broncos territory in the first half they didn’t resemble a team struggling to score points. They chucked everything at Brisbane. But what let their sets of six down was how they would end them. If Hasler and his men can improve their kicking game and get a harder running game from the forwards. The Bulldogs will definitely be a much improved outfit come 2018.
Brisbane Broncos 42
Tries: James Roberts 2, Tautau Moga, Ben Hunt, Jordan Kahu, Kodi Nikorima, Josh McGuire
Goals: Jordan Kahu 7
Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 12
Tries: Marcelo Montoya, Chase Stanley
Goals: Chase Stanley 2