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2021 NRL Round 15, Broncos 0 Rabbitohs 46 – Report

Shannon Meyer reviews another bad Thursday night out for the Broncos.

SCOREBOARD

Broncos 0

Tries: nil

Goals: nil

Rabbitohs 46

Tries: Latrell Mitchell (10), Dane Gagai (23), Campbell Graham (37, 62), Hame Sele (44), Alex Johnston (55, 60), Taane Milne (68).

Goals: Latrell Mitchell (25), Adam Reynolds (27 – pen, 38, 46, 57, 64 , 70).

Player of the Year Points

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3 pts – Cameron Murray (South Sydney)
2 pts – Cody Walker (South Sydney)
1 pt – Adam Reynolds (South Sydney)

MATCH REPORT

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1st Half

The Broncos welcomed South Sydney to Suncorp Stadium on Thursday, a night on which the Broncos have an appalling recent record. Ten losses in a row on Thursday and 17 losses in their last 19 matches was not a stat that gave much confidence for the home side. Someone who doesn’t have a bad record at the ground is Rabbitohs coach Wayne Bennett, who could be coaching his last match there. If you believe him.

Adam Reynolds’ knock on in South Sydney’s first attacking set gave the Broncos an early chance to attack the Rabbitohs’ line. Tyson Gamble forced a drop out with a good kick and enthusiastic chase. A knock on at dummy half put an end to that first raid, but the signs were good with Lodge and Haas looking up for it early. It may be Lodge’s last game at Suncorp with the Broncos if the latest transfer news is to be believed.

Alex Johnston went close to opening the scoring but was stopped in a brilliant one-on-one tackle close to the line by Broncos fullback Tesi Niu. As did Taane Milne on the other wing the very next play, but he stepped on the line helped by a covering Selwyn Cobbo tackle.

South Sydney scored the first try of the game in the next attacking set after Payne Haas was penalised and placed on report for a high shot on fellow Blue Cameron Murray. The Rabbitohs went left via the usual route of Reynolds to Cody Walker, but there was nothing usual about Walker’s inside flick pass which was a piece of magic that he can provide when on fire; and talking of players on fire it was Latrell Mitchell who was backing back on the inside to score the opening try of the match. To make it fair Reynolds missed the conversion. It was 4-0 after 10 minutes.

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After a poor grubber to end a Souths set in the 16th minute, Reynolds left the field for a HIA. The very next set each side had a man down with concussion. Dane Gagai had a head clash with team mate Jai Arrow who then accidentally kneed Jesse Arthars in the head on the way down in the tackle. Only Arthars left the field with HIA and he did not return. Cobbo went off with a HIA 10 minutes later and didn’t return either.

After a set restart the Broncos went very close to evening the score after Mitchell failed to cleanly deal with a kick, and the mid air battle with Niu was judged to be a knock on by the Broncos fullback. With 20 minutes gone it was still just 4-0 to Souths who had more ball and chances to be further in front.

A coach-killing play provided some excitement a few minutes later as a four-man gang tackle from the Rabbitohs pushed the Broncos ball runner back into the in goal from the 10 metre line; a few wild in-goal passes later a drop out was forced after one of those passes went forward.

The Rabbitohs extended their lead – on the set after the drop out – going down the familiar left hand side, and a familiarly involved Walker throwing to the final pass for yet another try assist. This time it was Gagai in Origin form as he sliced through some pretty feeble Broncos tackle attempts to score with ease. Mitchell nailed the conversion to make it 10-0 with 15 minutes to half time.

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With the Broncos struggling to stay with the Rabbitohs – and already down two players through HIA – they showed some real spirit rarely seen when down, with a good period of pressure on Souths in the latter stages of the first half, forcing errors out the Rabbitohs.

That spirit was on full display when Xavier Coates chased Gagai after an intercept. The Broncos winger gave Gagai a 10 metre head start but he got his man just before Gagai could put the ball down, dragging him two metres into touch as the corner post loomed. It would probably be the play of the night, and equally likely to mean absolutely nothing to the result. But it certainly showed something.

It certainly made no difference to the immediate scoring as Souths crossed within minutes to score their third try of the night. For a change the Rabbitohs went right with Murray starting the move to Reynolds with quick hands to Mitchell (who seemingly popped up everywhere in the first half) to Campbell Graham to complete the job by strolling over the line: Graham is becoming quite the underrated finisher.

HALF-TIME: Brisbane Broncos 0 South Sydney Rabbitohs 18

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2nd Half

Souths started off the second half looking quite dangerous in attack, and it wasn’t long before they extended their lead. After earning a repeat set, Hame Sele scored his first ever try in the NRL after he forced his way through a bunch of Broncos forwards 10 metres out in front of the posts. It was reasonably soft, and a worry for the Broncos looking that tired after the half-time break. The easy conversion made it 24-0 with plenty more coming based on that effort.

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After trading errors, the Broncos got the closest to scoring for the night so far with Kobe Hetherington falling one metre short after a fifth tackle charge. Souths showed they were clean to keep a clean sheet with some good defence.

Not long after Souths were further in front. The move to the left started a little further out than usual on the 40 metre line with Reynolds to Walker who then found Jacob Host in way too much space and as ever Johnston was on hand to finish the move to score yet another try. It was now 30-0 with more than 20 minutes to play and the now-traditional second half Broncos white flag looked to be getting ready to be raised.

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Johnston doubled up minutes later and who’d think in the lead up it would be Reynolds to Walker looping around the back and Johnston waiting to score? At least Johnston juggled the ball a little to put a little doubt in the minds of viewers and fans. They needn’t be too worried with such a try scorer. Reynolds missed the conversion.

As if the Broncos needed another hurdle to clear: John Asiata was taken off the field on the Medicab with 18 minutes to go after a head clash trying to tackle Mark Nicholls. For Nicholls it was his second head knock of the night, already sporting head gear after the first.

A few minutes later Graham had his second try for the night after a fine run through through some tired Broncos left side defence; the lanky Souths winger getting through three Broncos after Reynolds through a long pass to him on the right. Reynolds converted and got all the luck as his kick slammed into the posts and went through on a right angle. It was 40-0 and still 15 minutes to go.

A few firsts five minutes later as Milne got his first try of the season, and debutant Blake Taaffe grabbed a try assist on debut with a good final pass to the Souths winger shifting right via Murray and Reynolds. With 10 minutes to go 50 points was beckoning at 46-0.

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The Broncos had a great chance with minutes to go to trouble the scoreboard, but a good move broke down with the final pass to Coates going forward. It probably summed up their night in attack. They tried hard but there was no quality.

They remained scoreless as Souths took a big win, and one wonders if there would be a hint of a smile on Bennett’s face. Probably not.

This certainly wasn’t the Broncos’ worst performance of the season despite the massive scoreline against them, and they were up against it with three off the field due to HIA, and they did show patches of a bit of fight. They simply lack quality against the top six sides, and the worry is the amount of good players leaving the club and their recent pitiful attempts to attract the most obvious recruits like Nicho Hynes shows that there’s more problems than just the performances on the field. To let go of the very best free agent in the NRL – that could do plenty that the Broncos need – by a reported lowball offer, shows the off-field situation may be even worse. They need to start finding a better excuse than a constantly changing halves combination.

For South Sydney, they had a good night out, and despite the scoreline it probably wasn’t their best game but more than enough against this vintage Brisbane Broncos side. Souths fans probably aren’t feeling too sorry for the Brisbane team as they had to suffer a run of no wins at Suncorp Stadium between 1989 and 2009. The win moved Souths temporarily into third on the ladder, and with an upcoming run of five games against sides outside the top six, they have a real chance to cement a top four spot come finals time.

FULL-TIME: Brisbane Broncos 0 South Sydney Rabbitohs 46

Injuries

Jesse Arthars (Broncos) – failed HIA
Selwin Cobbo (Broncos) – failed HIA
John Asiata (Broncos) – HIA
Mark Nicholls (Rabbitohs) – HIA
Tevita Tatola (Rabbitohs) – knee

Match Review Committee

Tevita Pangai Junior (Broncos) – Grade 1 Crusher Tackle – Early Guilty Plea 3 matches, Guilty at Judiciary 4 match ban.

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