FOUR POINTERS: Brisbane Broncos 26 St George Illawarra Dragons 0

The NRL has become too structured: The problems the Dragons are currently experiencing are multiple; however a big contributor to the attacking woes is their inability to look past highly structured, predetermined attacking raids where creativity and spontaneity are absent. Over the last 10 to 15 years the stronger clubs have built their dominance on a highly structured formulaic approach. Coupling this with a star playmaker that brings the creativity and explosiveness required to complete the package is critical. There are only a handful of these players in the competition – Thurston, Milford, Cronk, Johnson – without a player of this calibre many teams are now falling into a hole when their systems break down. The start of this year’s competition has seen many 0 – 0 and 2 – 0 score lines deep into matches. Teams need to start looking beyond the trends that have taken hold over the last decade.

Confidence is everything: The Dragons were terrible at times against the Broncos. Just terrible. Failure to complete sets. Arm grabbing tackles. Out of sync for tap restarts. Their kicking game in the Broncos attacking zone was woeful. It goes to show that confidence is almost the most important ingredient a successful team needs. When you compare the team list the Dragons have with other similarly placed clubs in the NRL – Titans, Tigers, Panthers, Raiders – they are not terribly undermanned. Why is it then that they can’t post any points and seem so helplessly lost with the ball? Confidence? Someone needs to sneak over to a rivals training session and bottle some up to transfer down to Kogarah Oval.

Stop the fight: Who will challenge the Broncos to this year’s title? The Cowboys are the obvious answer however no team has ever backed up for consecutive premierships since the NRL came into fruition. The relentless nature of winning a competition requires a good run with injuries and keeping the core of a winning side together – not to mention defending the target painted on your back each week as the title holders. Given this is going to make a Cowboys title run harder – who will stand in the way of one of the most talented rosters seen for many years? The Broncos have no apparent weakness and will only get better as the year progresses. An ominous sign for the 15 other clubs still aiming to make the title their own.

Taking the two: The NRL needs to look at options to stop the bore that has become many matches this year. Teams are too often taking easy penalty goals in matches as oppose to looking to put a try on opposition sides. The willingness of sides to concede a penalty when under pressure on their own line has emerged as a genuine tactic that teams are employing. The NRL is a results driven business for clubs, winning for teams each week is important regardless of the margin. If the manipulation of rules continues in a bid to stop opposition scoring tries then the overall brand of the competition will suffer. League needs to remain competitive in a sporting market place based on exciting matches. Reducing the interchanges allotment for teams was a step in the right direction to achieve this, the emergence of the intentional conceding of penalties is now a new issue that the NRL is going to have to deal with.

From the sheds: There was some concern for Josh Dugan (neck) early as he landed awkwardly in a tackle early on, however he remained on the field for the entire match. Corey Oates appeared troubled by a shoulder injury late in the match also.

Brisbane Broncos 26 (Corey Oates, Alex Glenn, Anthony Milford, Jordan Kahu tries; Corey Parker 4, Milford goals) def. St George Illawarra 0.

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