The Brisbane Broncos have upset the New Zealand Warriors 27-18 at Mt Smart Stadium in Auckland on a wet Saturday night. The visitors grabbed their third win in six games in 2018, with an impressive performance to give the home side their first loss. The Warriors remain firmly in second on the ladder, while the Broncos climb up to seventh, and may stay there at the conclusion of the round dependent on other results.
The Warriors looked to continue their unbeaten start to 2018 and go 6-0, while the Broncos looked to improve on an unpleasing record at Mt Smart stadium over the last 10 years. A weaving run from Corey Oates put the Broncos on the board early, and from that moment the Warriors seemed unsettled playing from behind. They answered back through David Fusitu’a, who scored his 8th try of the campaign. Both sides traded penalty goals, before a great break from James Roberts set up Jamayne Isaako for his first try in top grade in the 20th minute. Three first half errors, although low, did cost the Warriors a few chances. After a a grubber kick deflected off the posts giving Blake Green a lucky try, and an Anthony Milford field goal, the scores were at 15-14 at the break. Errors were limited in the entire contest, meaning that completion percentages were high. The Broncos had an impressive 100 percent completion rate in the first half, finishing with 88 percent and only five handling errors over all. The Warriors were looking flat, in particular in their line speed which has been a strength of theirs this season.
The Warriors coughed the ball up close to half way to start second half, giving the Broncos great field position. A strong run by Tevita Pangai Jr. brought Brisbane close to the Warriors line, and good footwork one play later from Jaydn Su’A saw him score close to the posts, giving the visitors a 21-14 lead. Brisbane continued to look comfortable in their attacking plays, guided by strong performances from Milford and Jack Bird in the halves. A great cut out ball from Darius Boyd sent Jamayne Isaako over for his second try of the game in the 62nd minute. After a try to Jaydn Su’A, the Warriors pulled the deficit back to nine with a try in the 71st minute to Shaun Johnson on the right side, but the result was well and truly decided and ended as a 27-18 win for the Broncos. Brisbane finished with 247 more running metres than the Warriors, but a telling stat was their five line breaks compared to the Warriors two, which helped set up multiple scoring opportunities.
‘You can throw the form chart out the window’
The Broncos have won one game at Mt Smart in eight years, and against an unbeaten Warriors side with their current form seemed unlikely. There was no need to worry about any of that for Brisbane fans, as their side pulled out their best win of the year. Every member of the team looked energetic, and as if they were playing for something (maybe inspiration from Gillett’s injury). The Warriors looked flat, and their line speed was underwhelming given their strength in that department so far in 2018.
Warriors’ perfect start ends
As a result of the loss, the Warriors fall to their first defeat of 2018. Entering the game, the Warriors were coming off two strong wins against premiership heavyweights in the Roosters and Cowboys, but could not match the confidence and pace the Broncos exhibited. Until this year two straight wins to open a season was their best effort, most recently in 2009.
Corey Oates runs riot
Amongst the players who appeared the most dangerous on attack for the Broncos, Corey Oates shone as the top performer for them. Oates opened the scoring with a great solo run in the fourth minute, evading defenders and crossing over the line close to the posts. He broke numerous tackles throughout the game, highlighted by a great kick return that gave his side great field position midway through the second half. Oates finished with 168 running metres, and impressively gained two line breaks.
Isaako grabs his first two tries on home soil
Brisbane rookie Jamayne Isaako has had a pleasing start to 2018, and against the Warriors he finally grabbed his first two tries of what looks to be a promising career. Isaako is a New Zealand native, from Christchurch originally, and capitalised on chances created by teammates. A great break from James Roberts and a cutout pass from Darius Boyd set him up in his right corner.
WHAT THEY ARE SAYING
Darius Boyd said his side needed to improve after “a lack of enthusiasm” the last few weeks, and was happy to come away with the two points. Coach Wayne Bennett said a pleasing performance against Newcastle helped build up to a great win against the Warriors, and added that he could “feel it coming”.
“We let ourselves down”, Warriors captain Roger Tuivasa-Sheck said. He added the team needs to bounce back next week against the Dragons in arguably their toughest contest yet. Coach Stephen Kearney said in the press conference that his side did not match the Broncos play, and praised the visitors’ strong performance.
Tries: Isaako (2) (20m, 62m), Oates (4m), Su’A (44m)
Goals: Isaako 5/7
Field Goals: Milford 1/1
Tries: Fusitu’a (9m), Green (34m), Johnson (70m)
Goals: Johnson 3/4
Field Goals: N/A
Warriors: 1 Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, 2 David Fusitu’a, 3 Peta Hiku, 4 Solomone kata, 5 Ken Maumalo, 6 Blake Green, 7 Shaun Johnson, 8 Sam Lisone, 9 Isaac Luke, 10 Agnatius Paasi, 11 Leivaha Pulu, 12 Tohu Harris, 13 Adam Blair Interchange: 8 Bunty Afoa, 14 Jazz Tevaga, 16 Simon Mannering, 17 Anthony Gelling
Broncos: 1 Darius Boyd, 2 Corey Oates, 3 James Roberts, 18 Tom Opacic, 5 Jamayne Isaako, 6 Anthony Milford, 4 Jack Bird, 8 Matthew Lodge, 9 Andrew McCullough, 14 Sam Thaiday, 11 Alex Glenn, 16 Korbin Sims, 13 Josh McGuire Interchange: 10 Tevita Pangai Jr., 15 Joe Ofahengaue, 17 Jaydn Su’A, 20 Sam Tagataese