A great second half performance has seen the Brisbane Broncos take down the South Sydney Rabbitohs 24-20, at ANZ Stadium in Sydney on Friday night.
The game kicked off with both sides looking realtively even across their first sets. The Rabbitohs though were presented with a golden opportunity in the 6th minute when Jack Bird failed to recover an attacking kick from Adam Reynolds, opening the door for Cody Walker to score. The 6-0 lead for the Rabbitohs allowed them to maintain control of the game from then on. The Broncos hit back in the 15th minute with a fifth tackle run set up by Anthony Milford, seeing Darrius Boyd score in the left corner and leveled the scores. However, the Broncos committed eight errors in the opening 40 which hindered their chance of taking the lead at any stage. The Rabbitohs hit back through their outside backs, with Alex Johnston crossing over in the 20th minute to put them back up by six. A 58.8 completion rate for the Broncos, compared to 80 percent for the Rabbitohs showed the difference in discipline for both sides.
In the second half Brisbane came out with far more energy, putting the home side on the back foot early. 76 percent possession went the way of the Broncos through the opening 10 minutes, and with great field positon and back to back penalties the Broncos scored first with Kodi Nikorima bursting out of dummy half to level the scores at 12-12. The inclusion of teenage giant Payne Haas, and great ball running from Tevita Pangai influenced more attacking play from the visitors. Corey Oates scored off a turnover with a 20 metre run, and James Roberts scored five minutes later off the cool boot of Anthony Milford. The Rabbitohs struggled to match the tempo of the Broncos, but numerous linebreaks from John Sutton gave them field positon, and a short ball from Cody Walker to Sutton gave them a glimmer of hope, now within a coverted try. However the Broncos remained resilient on defence and held on to win 24-20. An indication of Brisbane’s attacking domiance through the first 30 minutes of the second period was being tackled 26 times in the opposition half, compared to only two for South Sydney.
Forwards propel Brisbane’s comeback
The Rabbitohs only had a slender six point lead at the break, but they overall looked the better side while the Broncos were committing far too many errors. However in the second half Brisbane injected toughness into theirn play, and their forwards immediately improved. The ball running in the middle created routes for scoring for the backline, with the likes of Tevita Pangai Jr., Korbin Sims and Jaydn Su’A were pivotal. Brisbane finished 779 metres in the second half, compared to the Rabbitohs 697 as well as outshining them in tackle busts and post contact metres.
Rabbitohs make costly second half errors
The second half saw the Rabbitohs fail to match the tempo of the Broncos. As well as a lack of energy from the hosts, mistakes flowed for South Sydney with multiple penalties and seven tackle sets given away that helped Brisbane get the result they did. Cody Walker made two vital mistakes, taking the ball dead from an attacking kick that would have otherwise been a dropout for his side, and a wayward pass that would have otherwise set up Alex Johnston for a try late in the second half.
Corey Oates continues to haunt the Bunnies
Corey Oates has garnered strong numbers against the Rabbitohs over the past three years, and after promising performances against the Warriors and Storm he stepped up another gear. Oates was consistently a threat when running, and regardless of a knock on in the first half he was perfect under the high ball. With a great attacking kick and an impressive solo try, he gained 188 running metres, three line breaks and eight tackle busts to cap off a man of the match performance.
A pleasing debut for a young giant
Standing at 196cm, weighting in at 117 kg and only at the age of 18, Payne Haas made his long awaited debut for the Broncos and immediately made an impact. Playing the final 21 minutes of the game, Haas made numerous tackles early on and was involved in the middle of the park on the attack. Brisbane has plenty of depth in their forwards, and with plenty of youth as well that should be a solid foundation for the future.
WHAT ARE THEY SAYING
Rabbitohs Coach Anthony Seibold acknowledged the Broncos strength in the second half, saying they “built a bit more pressure than us”. Seibold added that his side “were a little bit off with attention to detail”. Greg Inglis was disappointed his side could not play their “brand of footy”, and added the team effort was not there.
Broncos Coach Wayne Bennett said the difference for his side was the reduction in errors in the second half. He added the interchange was also important for his side’s success.
Tries: Boyd (15m), Nikorima (47m), Oates (57m), Roberts (63m)
Goals: Isaako 4/4
Field Goals: N/A
Tries: Walker (6m), Johnston (20m), Sutton (73m)
Goals: Reynolds 4/4
Field Goals: N/A
Rabbitohs: 1 Alex Johnston, 2 Richard Kennar, 3 Greg Inglis, 4 Dane Gagai, 5 Robert Jennings, 6 Cody Walker, 7 Adam Reynolds, 8 Thomas Burgess, 9 Damien Cook, 10 George Burgess, 11 John Sutton, 12 Angus Crichton, 13 Cameron Murray Interchange: 14 Adam Doueihi, 15 Mark Nicholls, 16 Jason Clarke, 17 Tevita Tatola
Broncos: 1 Darius Boyd, 2 Corey Oates, 3 James Roberts, 4 Tom Opacic, 5 Jamayne Isaako, 6 Anthony Milford, 7 Jack Bird, 8 Matthew Lodge, 9 Josh McGuire, 10 Sam Thaiday, 11 Alex Glenn, 12 Jaydn Su’A, 13 Tevita Pangai Jr. Interchange: 15 Joe Ofahengaue, 16 Kodi Nikorima, 17 Korbin Sims, 25 Payne Haas