Andrew Pelechaty reviews the 2022 Season of the Broncos, where they finished ninth on the ladder.
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Broncos Improve Before a Collapse
It’s hard to decide if Brisbane’s 2022 season was a success or a failure?
While they were in the eight for most of the season – and pushing the top four at times – their spectacular collapse to miss the finals, and subsequent off-field drama, overshadowed it.
But let’s start with the positives: they won 13 games (three more than 2020 and ’21 combined) and won eight games at Lang Park (including a massive “away” win over Manly Warringah in Magic Round). They also won seven straight from Rounds Seven to 14 and had six Origin players: Kotoni Staggs, Payne Haas (NSW), Selwyn Cobbo, Corey Oates, Patrick Carrigan, and Kurt Capewell (QLD). Thomas Flegler was Queensland’s 18th Man in Game Three but didn’t play.
And new recruit (and captain) Adam Reynolds was worth every single dollarydoo: he played 20 games and his class elevated Brisbane to genuine finals contenders for a while.
But Brisbane’s crash was almost as sudden as their rise. A Cobbo hat-trick (he would score 15 tries in 18 games, while his wing partner “Scorey” Oates got 20 in 22) highlighted a scratchy win over Newcastle in Round 22. That would be their last win in 2022.
They lost to Melbourne (60-12), Parramatta (53-6), and St George Illawarra (22-12), with Canberra swooping in to take eighth spot. The off-field drama started almost immediately, as some players didn’t like coach Kevin Walters (a Broncos legend and one of the game’s last ’90s larakkins) getting angry over the late slump, and there were rumours of a falling out between Walters and Ben Ikin (Broncos Head of Football). Before that was Haas’s contract drama, which saw him booed by Broncos fans, though he recovered to win the Paul Morgan Medal and will be staying at Red Hill.
And then came the massive cleanout: Tyson Gamble, Rhys Kennedy, Brenko Lee, Te Maire Martin, David Mead, Ryan James, Zac Hosking, Jake Turpin, Albert Kelly, and Tyrone Roberts. Though they picked up the Warriors’ Reece Walsh and the Wests Tigers’ Jock Madden.
If you were being kind, you could say the young Broncos ran out of steam after a big season (they weren’t the only team to fall away late in the year). If you weren’t being kind, you could say the Broncos overachieved and crashed hard upon reaching their peak.
How Brisbane responds in 2023 will show if 2022 was the start of the rebuild or an aberration.
NothingButLeague Broncos Player of 2022: Adam Reynolds (18)Embed from Getty Images
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