Broncos loss to Bulldogs leaves finals hopes
resting on Tigers and Sharks clash
resting on Tigers and Sharks clash
September 7, 2019 8:16pm
Forget Mad Monday. The Broncos will be gathering for Nervous Sunday. Angry Brisbane coach Anthony Seibold lashed his misfiring troops after the resurgent Bulldogs delivered a worrying jolt to the Broncos’ finals hopes with a 30-14 caning at Sydney’s ANZ Stadium. After two months walking the top-eight tightrope, the Broncos only had to dispose of the Bulldogs to finally ease any anxiety and qualify for their sixth consecutive finals campaign and first under coach Anthony Seibold. But Brisbane face a nailbiting vigil on the final afternoon of the regular season after Bulldogs winger Nick Meaney celebrated a hat-trick and a 22-point haul to bury the Broncos.
Anthony Milford shows his dejection after a Bulldogs try. Picture: Brett Hemmings/Getty Images
cack-handed lumbering oafs
Broncos players are certain to congregate to watch the Wests Tigers-Sharks clash at Leichhardt Oval in a game that will define Brisbane’s 2019 season. If the Tigers or Sharks win, the Broncos (25 competition points) will sneak into the finals in eighth spot and book an away trip to face Parramatta at Bankwest Stadium in the opening week of the playoffs. Should the Tigers and Sharks (24 points) play out an extra-time draw, both will qualify for the finals, a scenario that would relegate Brisbane to ninth spot.
The odds are still heavily in favour of Brisbane playing sudden-death football, but Seibold admits the Broncos are no hope of winning the premiership if they replicate the Bulldogs bash-up. “If you look at one game, we are no chance, absolutely no chance,” he fired. “If you look at our collective performance over the back end, we are some chance. “I’m a big negative at the moment because I am frustrated with what we dished up, it’s not good enough and I want to see actions.”
Payne Haas attempts to break through. Picture: Brett Hemmings/Getty Images
“It’s all attitude. The Bulldogs looked like they were playing for a place in the finals, not us.” Before 9807 fans at Homebush, the Broncos were comprehensively outplayed. The Bulldogs ran harder, displayed more energy and rolled effortlessly through the midfield to give the Broncos a stinging reality check of the desperation needed to be successful in September.
off the boil
With Dylan Napa (171m) and Josh Jackson (127m) leading the way, the Bulldogs were never headed, leading 12-10 at half-time before dominating the Broncos in the second stanza. Brisbane were off the boil all night and apart from a brief riposte late in the first half, when Kotoni Staggs scored twice, the Broncos rarely looked likely against a Canterbury team defending like the Dogs of War. “We didn’t build any pressure,” Seibold said. “We were way off.”
Brisbane’s playmaking spine remains problematic. Anthony Milford showed some zip at fullback but great halfbacks drive title campaigns and makeshift No.7 Jake Turpin has to take charge of Brisbane’s offence. Some solo brilliance from David Fifita and two-try Staggs gave Brisbane hope at 12-10 at half-time, but with everything to play for after the break, the Broncos were as limp as month-old lettuce. Now they wake today reaching for the Rosary Beads, praying the NRL footballing gods don’t deliver a Tigers-Sharks miracle.
“We just hope it doesn’t go to a golden point draw,” Seibold lamented.