NEWS Title credentials reinstated? Four things learnt from Broncos’ warning shot

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Any talk that the Brisbane Broncos would be a shadow of last year’s grand finalists have been extinguished, with their triumph of the Canberra Raiders sending an ominous signal to the NRL as a host of big names prepare to announce their injury comebacks.

Coach Kevin Walters’ men turned the screws in a 34-10 victory, as star prop Payne Haas [knee], captain Adam Reynolds [hamstring], and rookies Deine Mariner and Brendan Piakura [back and ankle respectively] all watched from the sidelines.

All are in line to return next week, and will do so in a team who has won three of their past four encounters severely undermanned.

Fullback Reece Walsh, who played his first game since suffering a facial fracture last week, was at his enigmatic best on Saturday night - running for 177m and seven tackle busts, while scoring two tries and making three linebreaks, despite making three errors.

“That’s what you get with Walshy, and as he matures he’ll get that out of his game, but right now he’s still learning. The stuff he does is really positive, and it must be uplifting for the guys out on the field,” Walters said.

“There’s no coaching in that, he’s just got that explosiveness in him to break a game open. He struggled early, and when he just decided to run he ran, and we got some good results on the back of that.”

But it was the outrageous showing from five-eighth Ezra Mam that will have Broncos fans salivating at the thought of his reunion with Reynolds.

Mam was in the thick of everything - scoring a try and setting up three others, while also laying on three linebreak assists.

But it was the fact he took a greater responsibility of the kicking duties that stood out, rivalled by his outstanding kick chase. Time after time, he was the first man to make the tackle from a clearance, while his pinpoint bomb gifted Jordan Riki his first try of the year.

Through it all, what will please Walters the most ahead of his star quartet returning will be the way the Broncos defended through a tough opening 10 minutes in which they threatened to shoot themselves in the foot.

An early unwillingness to go up for kicks from Raiders halfback Jamal Fogarty - who left the field at halftime with a suspected ruptured bicep - kept Brisbane on the backfoot, as did a series of handling errors.

However, they held firm, largely courtesy of Hudson Young’s failure to ground the ball from a grubber, and will be at least close to full strength for next week’s clash with the Tigers.

“I have to talk to our medical staff, they all trained well on Friday but over the weekend we’ll see and get it together next week,” Walters said.

Cobbo firming for Origin recalls

Selwyn Cobbo has well and truly put himself back in the State of Origin equation.

Cobbo’s move from the wing to centre has proven the perfect timing when it comes to his hopes of earning back his Maroons jumper, with Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow’s hamstring injury leaving him incredibly touch-and-go to be fit in time for the June 5 series opener.

The 21-year-old scored twice and made four tackle busts in the opening game last year, but a hip concern kept him out for the rest of the series - replaced by Xavier Coates.

Should Tabuai-Fidow fail to recover, Cobbo appears locked in a battle with Newcastle veteran Dane Gagai to replace him.

And his try-scoring exploits against the Raiders - which featured 128m and seven tackle busts - have come hot on the heels of a breakout performance against the Dolphins, in which he scored another two tries, ran for more than 200m and broke eight tackles.

The fact he performed so admirably on Saturday against New Zealand Test star Matt Timoko showcased that even in the face of a daunting challenge, he was up to the task.

How long can young props be held back?

Haas’ return to the Broncos fold is looming, and with that, someone will be forced from a team hot from three comprehensive wins and a tight defeat to the Melbourne Storm.

But in the midst of that, the question has to be asked: how long can Xavier Willison be held back?

The rookie prop has been one of Brisbane’s best middles coming off the bench since returning to the side in round three against the Panthers, and once again against Canberra he showcased the X-factor potential that has him billed as a long-term prospect at Red Hill.

Coming off the bench, Willison ran for 144m - taking his season average to 128m a game - and built momentum with every carry that enabled hooker Billy Walters to probe and get his backline on the front foot.

The re-injection of Haas, along with the profound form of Pat Carrigan - who finished with 194m and 37 tackles - could also trigger the rise of one-game teenager Ben Te Kura, who impressed on debut against the Storm before being left out of the team ever since.

The 205cm behemoth ran for 115m and scored a try that night, highlighting his strength close to the tryline, and

Haas’ comeback from knee surgery could be the composure upfront Walters needs to be confident of fielding the young duo together.

Corey Jensen and Fletcher Baker have performed admirably off the bench, with the former’s 186m pivotal on Saturday and Baker’s leap for a kick to finish Riki’s try a key moment.

But there is no doubt Willison and Te Kura have the makings of long-term allies for Haas, and with the Kangaroos’ sensation itching to make his way back to the field, that could be what gives the youngsters the ammunition to take on more prominent roles.

Is Madden the answer to Reynolds’ succession?

Jock Madden’s time as a Bronco has come with mixed results being shuffled in and out of the team for fleeting appearances, but his statement on Saturday could be the launchpad that cements him as Reynolds’ successor.

After being thrown to the wolves against the Panthers, the 26-year-old returned with a more composed performance with the boot against the Dolphins and looked to run the ball with greater vigour.

Those traits came to the fore far more emphatically against the Raiders - his bombs terrorising rookie Raiders fullback Chevy Stewart, leading to Mam’s try.

Madden finished with two try assists, two linebreak assists and 72 running metres, and his kicking game almost resembled the nightmare Reynolds dished up to the North Queensland Cowboys three weeks ago.

Reynolds extended his stay in Brisbane until the end of 2025, but his regular battle with injuries could continue to be a concern even before that time comes.

As for beyond that, Madden will be relying on strong performances when given his chances with the looming threat of teenage prospect Coby Black.

The 18-year-old is yet to make his Queensland Cup debut, but he was profoundly impressive in his first game of senior rugby league in the preseason, lining up for the Broncos in an unofficial trial against Wynnum Manly and setting up two tries with his sharp kicking game.

For now, however, Madden has sent a message: that future jersey is his to lose.

Sydney Morning Herald
 
Fernando

Fernando

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Seems a bit hopeful re BTK with the depth available and Kev's liking for a utility on the bench but it would be fun to see what a pack of Haas, Jensen, Carrigan, Willison, Hetherington and BTK would look like even for a game. Could give Carrigan a big spell too. If BTK only plays a few NRL games around Origin time, he has got 30 QCUP games under his belt now, he is gonna be primed for 2025.
 
Sproj

Sproj

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Seems a bit hopeful re BTK with the depth available and Kev's liking for a utility on the bench but it would be fun to see what a pack of Haas, Jensen, Carrigan, Willison, Hetherington and BTK would look like even for a game. Could give Carrigan a big spell too. If BTK only plays a few NRL games around Origin time, he has got 30 QCUP games under his belt now, he is gonna be primed for 2025.

All hypothetical of course but imagine if you are the opposition and you’ve just been belted by Jensen, Haas and Carrigan and on comes Te Kura, Willison and Hetherington.

And then back on come Jensen, Haas and Carrigan. Nightmare fuel for every single opposition forward pack, including Penrith.
 
Fernando

Fernando

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All hypothetical of course but imagine if you are the opposition and you’ve just been belted by Jensen, Haas and Carrigan and on comes Te Kura, Willison and Hetherington.

And then back on come Jensen, Haas and Carrigan. Nightmare fuel for every single opposition forward pack, including Penrith.
Yep, hopefully we get to see it at some stage. Smoothy too, he's getting good at putting props over for tries (Flegler in the GF, BTK vs Storm, X vs Dolphins). Him attacking close to the line with BTK on one side and Willison on the other with both capable of barging over and needing 3+ defenders to stop them is dangerous or creates lots of space out wide.
 
Big Del

Big Del

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All hypothetical of course but imagine if you are the opposition and you’ve just been belted by Jensen, Haas and Carrigan and on comes Te Kura, Willison and Hetherington.

And then back on come Jensen, Haas and Carrigan. Nightmare fuel for every single opposition forward pack, including Penrith.

The old big man vs little man game .
Big boys down the middle .Vs Kicking earlier , little guys running wider and changes of direction to tire out the big guys . The way possesion can be one sided in these times the danger is if the little guys get a glut of possesion or one of the big guys gets sin binned fatigue becomes a big factor .
 
Sproj

Sproj

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The old big man vs little man game .
Big boys down the middle .Vs Kicking earlier , little guys running wider and changes of direction to tire out the big guys . The way possesion can be one sided in these times the danger is if the little guys get a glut of possesion or one of the big guys gets sin binned fatigue becomes a big factor .

I'm not really sure what you are saying here but remember the context, this is all hypothetical, it isn't going to happen much if at all this season. But even so, aside from Te Kura, all these other guys have shown they can play big minutes anyway. And it isn't like our little guys aren't freakishly good as well.

We are considered one of the heavyweights for a few reasons.
 
Big Del

Big Del

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I'm not really sure what you are saying here but remember the context, this is all hypothetical, it isn't going to happen much if at all this season. But even so, aside from Te Kura, all these other guys have shown they can play big minutes anyway. And it isn't like our little guys aren't freakishly good as well.

We are considered one of the heavyweights for a few reasons.

What I am trying to communicate is there are ways for smaller packs to tire out bigger bodies .
And these days with repeat sets and sin bins a regular occurance . A smaller better cardio group could get an advantage if they had high completions and repeat sets and or the big guys were a man short for 10 minutes the tables might be turned .
 
Sproj

Sproj

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What I am trying to communicate is there are ways for smaller packs to tire out bigger bodies .
And these days with repeat sets and sin bins a regular occurance . A smaller better cardio group could get an advantage if they had high completions and repeat sets and or the big guys were a man short for 10 minutes the tables might be turned .

Of course but again, not only is our pack big, sans Te Kura as an unproven at this stage, they are also very mobile and can play long minutes. Of course it isn't beyond a ref to totally destroy a game with ridiculous one-sided reffing but our forward pack is about as versatile as you could ever hope.
 
Fernando

Fernando

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What I am trying to communicate is there are ways for smaller packs to tire out bigger bodies .
And these days with repeat sets and sin bins a regular occurance . A smaller better cardio group could get an advantage if they had high completions and repeat sets and or the big guys were a man short for 10 minutes the tables might be turned .
Yeah but in this scenario we have an extra forward on the bench so fatigue could even be less of a factor. But the risk of a back going down is there.
 
Mustafur

Mustafur

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Big forwards are op these days, especially when your backs are soo fucking fast.
 
Sproj

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Title credentials Analysis would be something like this:

1. Walsh (top three, arguably best in the game)
2. Arthars (elite and value for money)
3. Staggs (arguable top 5 centre)
4. Cobbo (on the up, probably already a top 5 centre)
5. Mariner (rookie with massive upside)
6. Mam (top three in the game)
7. Reynolds (top 5 halfback at worst, arguably top three)
8. Jensen (massively underrated, right now bordering on elite)
9. Walters (above average, value for money)
10. Haas (best prop in the game)
11. Piakura (elite potential but still young and injury prone - our depth issue area)
12. Riki (elite, fantastic value for money)
13. Carrigan (right now, best lock in the game but definitely top 3)

1Bench: I'd argue top 3, at worst top 5 in the game

Depth: I'd say top three in the game.

We tick all the boxes with the only real concern, depth at second-row. Our 'window' is wide open and the wind is rushing in...if Penrith didn't exist, we'd already be comfortable reigning premiers and we look like we might be even better come finals if fit and firing.
 
Allo

Allo

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Whoever wrote this needs to proofread better:

“Fullback Reece Walsh, who played his first game since suffering a facial fracture last week“

Facial fracture happened a month ago and he played his first game back last week

They expect you to pay for this
 
Big Del

Big Del

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Apr 22, 2017
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Whoever wrote this needs to proofread better:

“Fullback Reece Walsh, who played his first game since suffering a facial fracture last week“

Facial fracture happened a month ago and he played his first game back last week

They expect you to pay for this

Slow down and read it again .
He did play his 1st game since suffering a facial fracture , last week

Right message the phrasing / grammar is poor .
Lots of AI in news reporting lately . And below par proof reading .
 
Allo

Allo

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Slow down and read it again .
He did play his 1st game since suffering a facial fracture , last week

Right message the phrasing / grammar is poor .
Lots of AI in news reporting lately . And below par proof reading .

A comma can make all the difference

They are paid to (apparently) write and want people to pay for it, it should be flawless.

Any person would read that as he suffered the fracture last week and this is his first game since
 
Culhwch

Culhwch

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A comma can make all the difference

They are paid to (apparently) write and want people to pay for it, it should be flawless.

Any person would read that as he suffered the fracture last week and this is his first game since

Some of the stuff on Fox Sports is atrocious, not sure if it's overuse of AI with little in the way of proof-reading, or is it's just that we've systematically failed to teach a generation basic literacy. Probably a bit of both...
 
LittleDavey

LittleDavey

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Mar 25, 2013
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Some of the stuff on Fox Sports is atrocious, not sure if it's overuse of AI with little in the way of proof-reading, or is it's just that we've systematically failed to teach a generation basic literacy. Probably a bit of both...

I think it's is just a systemic failure on the literary front 😜 Seriously though, it does my head in.

I mean, grammar is the only difference between helping your uncle, Jack, off a horse....or, helping your uncle jack off a horse... I guess if it's a Bronco it doesn't matter..?
 

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