Defence was the name of the game as the Brisbane Broncos mid-season revival continued in a low scoring affair, defeating the New Zealand Warriors 8-2.
With both sides coming into Round 11 with back to back wins, the crowd at Mount Smart Stadium were expecting an exciting clash between two teams desperate to get into the top eight; however, they witnessed a defensive battle as the Broncos handed the Warriors their first tryless game of 2019.
The Broncos started the match strongly with Alex Glenn almost crashing over the line only to be held up by a determined Isaiah Papali’i. The Broncos continued to pressure the Warriors, camping in their red zone for repeat sets until their former teammate Kodi Nikorima snatched up a grubber kick and gave the Warriors some much-needed possession.
This lead to the Warriors having several repeat sets but they could not break through the Broncos defensive line, walking away with only a penalty goal via Patrick Herbert to take a 2-0 lead.
The Warriors continued to build their momentum, taking advantage of the Broncos poor discipline but against the stoic defence, they were their own worst enemies forcing passes and making unforced errors.
Herbert was called upon for another penalty goal, but his miss kept the score 2-0, and the Warriors were dealt a heavy blow when Jazz Tevaga left the field with an ankle injury. With seconds remaining Jamayne Isaako kicked a penalty goal to level the scores 2-2 at the break.
The second half started much like the first, the Warriors had the lions share of possession but could not convert it into points and it wasn’t until the 60th minute that a try was finally scored when Anthony Milford took advantage of some sluggish Warriors defence with an excellent solo effort, Issako’s conversion gave the Broncos the lead 8-2.
The Broncos almost scored again moments later when the Broncos took advantage of an overlap only for Tohu Harris to desperately push Isaako out in the corner. This was the last scoring opportunity for the Broncos as the Warriors took control once again but never looked like scoring, lacking the creative edge needed to break through the Broncos line with the end score the same it had been at the 61st minute 8-2.
Broncos defensive statement
After holding the reigning premiers to a single try last round, the Broncos defence was impressive once again. The Warriors came into this match leading the competition in linebreaks but were unable to break the line at all.
The Broncos were relentless, tackling in numbers and wrapping the ball up, ensuring that the Warriors could not get their dangerous second phase football off the ground. Now with their third win in a row, the Broncos look destined to continue their winning ways if this new defensive attitude sticks around.
Warriors lack Attack
The Warriors had the majority of the possession, and despite spending plenty of time in the Broncos half, they were unable to cross the try-line. The Warriors appeared shellshocked, and they resorted to one out running followed by throwing the ball out to one edge and then kicking to the opposite corner on the last or pushing a grubber through.
The Warriors needed to earn the right to test the edges by dominating up the middle, and they failed to do that, Blake Green’s last tackle options left a lot to be desired and he needs to bring some variety into his performance if the Warriors are to have a chance to get into the playoff hunt.
With the Warriors having a bye next round they will have plenty of time to reflect on this performance and prepare for the tough task of hosting the Melbourne Storm in Round 13.
Broncos forwards dominate
The Broncos forwards had an outstanding night in Auckland, running hard and setting the platform for Milford and Dearden to probe the Warriors’ defensive line for weaknesses.
They also defended well in the middle, negating any chance the Warriors forwards had to get a roll on to unleash their explosive backline.
With a stack of young talented forwards, this Broncos pack is going to be formidable for years to come.
Warriors hurt by errors.
There must be something in the Penrith water as the after defeating a Panthers side with a case of the dropsies; the Warriors made a host of unforced errors that frustrated the home crowd. When you make 15 unforced errors, you are going to struggle to defeat any side in the NRL, and that was the case here for the Warriors.
If the Warriors are to bounce back, they are going to need to show the ball more respect.
Tries: Anthony Milford
Goals: Jamayne Isaako 2/2
Goals: Patrick Herbert 1/2
Broncos: 1. Darius Boyd, 2. Corey Oates, 3. Kotoni Staggs, 4. Gehamet Shibasaki, 5. Jamayne Isaako, 6. Anthony Milford, 7. Tom Dearden, 8. Matthew Lodge, 9. Jake Turpin, 10. Payne Haas, 11. Alex Glenn, 12. Matt Gillett, 13. Tevita Pangai Junior, 14. James Segeyaro, 15. David Fifita, 17. Joe Ofahengaue, 18. Patrick Carrigan
Warriors: 1. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, 2. David Fusitu’a, 3. Peta Hiku, 4. Patrick Herbert, 5. Ken Maumalo, 6. Kodi Nikorima, 7. Blake Green, 15. Adam Blair, 9. Issac Luke, 10. Leeson Ah Mau, 11. Isaiah Papali’i, 12. Tohu Harris, 13. Lachlan Burr, 8. Bunty Afoa, 14. Jazz Tevaga, 16. Ligi Sao, 17. Karl Lawton