The Brisbane Broncos will be glad to see the end of the 2020 season: the worst in the club’s history.
2020 Club Record
Competition Points: 6
2020 Player Achievements
Most Tries: Kotoni Staggs (10)
Most Points: Staggs (76)
It was a season to forget for the Brisbane Broncos, awarded the wooden spoon for the first time in the club’s history. Even before a ball was passed, they were hit with some tough news, with a season-ending ACL injury to the expected starting fullback Jack Bird: he’s now only played 17 matches in his injury-riddled stint at the Broncos. However, this didn’t halt the Broncos during the first two weeks of the season: they came out firing with wins against the North Queensland Cowboys and the South Sydney Rabbitohs. Then came the break in the competition as the nation dealt with the global pandemic. It was all downhill from here: the club failed to win another game until round nine as pressure mounted on the struggling Anthony Seibold. He agreed to an early termination of his contract after their 18-point loss to South Sydney, his former club, in round 13. The expectations of another finals appearance quickly disappeared as the Broncos won just one of their final 18 matches.
This was arguably the worst run of form since the dreadful 2016 Newcastle Knights (they had just one win and a draw). The Broncos set all sorts of club records as they conceded the most points (624) and scored the least amount of points (268) in their history. This is the first Broncos outfit to score under 350 points in a season and also the first to concede more than 600 points in a season. After the break, they only managed to concede under 20 points twice: beating Canterbury 26-8 in round nine, and losing 18-6 in round 18 to the Titans. In their 17 losses, they only managed to finish within single digits of their opponents twice, highlighting their inability to compete for the full 80 minutes.
To make matters worse, they failed to retain the 20-year-old Queenslander David Fifita, who has signed with the Gold Coast Titans on a three-year deal. They’ll be seeing plenty of Fifita over the next few seasons. Also leaving the Broncos is Darius Boyd, who called time on his 337-game NRL career, 206 of those for the Broncos. Despite not playing his best footy over the past few seasons, Boyd has had a career to be proud of: 28 Origins, 23 Tests, two premierships and a Clive Churchill Medal over 15 seasons.
Despite their horrid season, there are still some small positives to draw for the Broncos, including the ongoing development of the likes of Payne Haas, Kotoni Staggs, Patrick Carrigan, and the emergence of young Origin winger Xavier Coates. Incoming coach Kevin Walters has a massive job ahead of him, although it can’t get much worse than this season.
NothingButLeague Players of the Season
Payne Haas, Patrick Carrigan, and Kotoni Staggs
With only three wins, there wasn’t much to celebrate this season, but three players showed their class throughout the year: Payne Haas, Patrick Carrigan, and Kotoni Staggs. The former two were co-winners of the Paul Morgan Medal and both have been selected to participate in this year’s State of Origin series. Staggs was a walking highlight reel this season and Carrigan was a classic toiler who tried his heart out each week, despite the drubbings his side was copping.
But it was Haas who was the pick of the bunch. The prop-forward has been selected for his second New South Wales appearance this Wednesday as a reward for another fine season. Following up on his superb 2019 season was always going to be a difficult task, but the Australian prop was able to average a whopping 175 run metres per game whilst completing 44 tackles per game: 81 of those metres came after contact and Haas also managed to break on average 3.6 tackles per game, which is no easy feat. Despite the Broncos’ poor performances throughout the year, this man was always charging off the back fence and toiling away, as he proved to the competition that he is one of the best young forwards in the game. He is just 41 games into his NRL career and is well on the way to becoming one of the top forwards in the game.
2021 GAINS AND LOSSES
Darius Boyd (retired), David Fifita (Gold Coast Titans), Jamil Hopoate (Undecided), Jordan Kahu (Undecided), Richie Kennar (Undecided), Rhys Kennedy (Undecided), Isaac Luke (Undecided), Sean O’Sullivan (Undecided), Izaia Perese (Undecided), Ben Te’o (Undecided), Ilikena Vudogo (Undecided).