South Sydney have slumped to their 7th successive loss for 2008, crashing out 32-18 to a lively Brisbane Broncos outfit in Queensland tonight. The Broncos well and truly focused for their ANZAC Clash and coming out with all guns firing to blow the desperate Bunnies away.
Like Manly last Friday night, the Broncos finished with no fresh reserves due to a handful of serious injuries to the home side, with Justin Hodges, Sam Thaiday, Steve Michaels and Tonie Carroll unable to finish the game.
With the Broncos decimated through injury, the Rabbitohs were able to mount a belated comeback in the final fifteen minutes, but could not reel in the dominant Broncos lead.
The match started in tragic fashion for the Brisbane side, with teenage centre Steve Michaels stretchered off in just the 3rd minute with what appeared to be a serious knee injury.
The loss of Michaels had no affect on the Broncos however, with rookie Brisbane winger Denan Kemp finishing off a sweeping backline movement to crash over wide out just two tackles later.
With a glutton of goal-kickers to choose from, Broncos hooker Michael Ennis was given first shot at the kicking duties, but pushed it wide to leave it at 4-0 after five minutes.
Ennis extended the home sides lead in the 15th minute with a penalty goal for a Souths indiscretion, with the Broncos extending their lead seven minutes later when replacement centre Joel Moon slid between two Rabbitohs defenders for a 10-0 lead.
Souths hit back five minutes later in simple fashion; backrower David Faâ€™alogo bursting through attempted tackles by Broncos Sam Thaiday and Ben Hannant to score a typically barnstorming four-pointer.
In his first game back from injury, Souths hooker Isaac Luke nailed the conversion to make it 10-6 after half an hour.
Despite starting the game from the bench through a bout of the flu, representative centre Justin Hodges put the home side further ahead when he accepted a neat pass off the hip from Tonie Carroll to barge over.
Ennis again hooked his conversion wide, leaving the Broncos with a 14-6 half-time advantage.
The Brisbane crowd rose as one in the 49th minute thanks to a breathtaking seventy metre movement from the home side, Brisbane fullback Darius Boyd showing tremendous speed to fly down the sideline before unselfishly passing inside to Denan Kemp to dot down under the posts.
The game was as good over when Ennis crashed over from dummy-half four minutes later, with the nuggetty hookerâ€™s third goal pushing the lead out to 26-6.
Two late tries to zippy Souths winger Nathan Merritt kept the crowd on the edge of the seats, with Moonâ€™s second try killing off Souths chances.
Brisbane Broncos 32
Tries: Joel Moon 2, Denan Kemp 2, Justin Hodges, Michael Ennis
Goals: Michael Ennis 4
South Sydney Rabbitohs 18
Tries: Nathan Merritt 2, David Faâ€™alogo
Goals: George Ndaira 2, Isaac Luke
At Suncorp Stadium
Referee â€“ Jason Robinson