So dominant was the Brisbane win, they took the foot off the gas late in the game – actually allowing the Warriors a tiny bit of respectability as they ran in 10 points.
The highly anticipated top of the table clash never really reached any heights – with the Broncos having it wrapped up early. New Zealand were unbackable favourites going in and with the home crowd and good stats against Brisbane in the past, punters were all over the NZ side like a cheap suit.
But with a massive possession statistic swinging their way in the first half, the Broncos took full advantage. Playing ruthless attacking Rugby League to totally dominate.
It took 60 minutes for NZ to get on the scoreboard, when Simon Mannering got over the line from a Broncos penalty. The young Broncos showing no ill-effects without Justin Hodges and remaining controversy surrounding the future of Karmichael Hunt.
Halfback Peter Wallace had a top shelf game for Brisbane, making his claim early for the NSW State of Origin jersey. But what will please coach Ivan Henjack even more, will be the defensive effort the Broncos turned in tonight.
When they had to build a brick wall they did it perfectly.
For the usually physical NZ Warriors side, they seemed to lack any aggression – the loss of Vatuvei probably hurting more than they expected. Even Steve Price was unusually poor with his handling.
The only saving grace was the last 20 minute period for the Warriors. As they got some ball and found some spark, they managed to turn some field position into points.
Russell Packer substituted on to hammer the Brisbane defence in front of the posts and setup Ukuma Ta’ai for the try, but was injured soon after – copping a stray finger to the eye socket.
NZ will hold their breath waiting on the results of a knee injury to Brent Tate – the leading centre not looking good as he was assisted from the field.
The Broncos confirming they had planned a massive opening 20 minutes, to ensure the ambush at the tough away venue.
“We shot ourselves in the foot a few times with costly errors but we hung in there.” confirmed Corey Parker.
What has made the Brisbane wins even more impressive, is they have defeated the leading NRL sides in the first few rounds. Putting the Storm, Cowboys and now NZ to the sword.
A massive wrap must be had for new coach Ivan Henjack – his perfect record remaining in-tact and it’s been against tough opponents.
“Mt Smart Stadium is a pretty hostile spot but our main focus was to hang in there and weather the storm.”
“They outplayed us in every facet of the game,” the Warriors Michael Luck confirmed.
Luck returning after a layoff last week due to a head knock.
“By the time we snapped onto how we should be playing it was too late.
The Warriors hinted that the short turnaround may have hurt them this week, but the home advantage surely could have covered for that.
“There’s no excuses, we had a pretty light week, we only trained Thursday and yesterday,” he said.
“It was disappointing, we trialed well and started the season well.
“It’s time to stop listening to the press, stop listening to what people are saying and pull our heads in.”
Rookie Brisbane player Alex Glenn got his first try – after hole running off a classic Darren Lockyer pass. It was vintage Lockyer as he sent the young charger through the hole, picking the gap perfectly and crisply releasing the pass.
The Brisbane side looked to have another try shortly before this, with in-demand fullback Karmichael Hunt being denied – after Warrior Denan Kemp was ruled to have been fouled by Steve Michaels when chasing through for the kick.
Israel Folau continued his try scoring form for Brisbane as did Joel Clinton and Steve Michaels.
For the Warriors, while they may have lacked possession – they made some basic errors. Kicking out on the full and turning the ball over easily at crucial times. Even the usually cool Nathan Fien was being frustrated no end and the locals just couldn’t get going until way too late.
Broncos: 26 (S Michaels, I Folau, D Lockyer, J Clinton, A Glenn tries; C Parker 3 conversions)
Warriors: 10 (S Mannering, U Ta’ai tries; D Kemp conversion)