163 minutes. That is how long the St George Illawarra Dragons have remained scoreless, in what has been a barren run for them so far. After being held scoreless by the Cowboys last week, the Brisbane Broncos dished out the pain again, cruising to victory & winning 26-0 at Suncorp Stadium.
The Broncos were always going to enter the match as favourites, and although there were few try-scoring opportunities throughout the game, they did enough to make the scoreline respectable.
Whilst the Dragons defence of late has been quite good, it is their attack that has looked stagnant and disjointed. With the surprise omission of Benji Marshall due to a hamstring injury, Josh McCrone re-entered the Dragons side.
But even that did not make a difference, as the Dragons failed to capitalise on the opportunities they did have, including one such instance that saw Peter Mata’utia drop the ball over the line.
Although not at their best, the Broncos did enough to win and clearly had too much firepower for the Dragons side. For the first time in their history, the Dragons were held scoreless in back-to-back games.
At half-time, it was clear that the Broncos were in control. The Dragons had just 38% possession and completed a meager 66% of the sets, yet only trailed 12-0. Defence can only get you so far.
In the end, it was all about lack of execution from the Dragons that saw them score no points. Whilst the Broncos were also not at their best, they did enough to record their fifth win of the season.
Low possession and a lack of completions are the main reason behind their current poor form according to coach Paul McGregor.
“Their confidence is down a little bit and with that you lose a bit of belief but it’s very hard to compete against quality football teams early in the year without the right amount of possession. That’s how it is,” McGregor said.
“At the moment we’re not giving ourselves enough opportunity and everyone is trying hard. They might be trying a little bit too hard but we’ll just get to the bottom of it, clean it up and move forward.”
Captain Gareth Widdop was guilty of trying to assert himself on the game and then having things not working and admitted that he was at fault on some plays.
“It’s the simple errors we’re putting on ourselves and the harder we’re trying the worse we’re getting,” Widdop said.
“That’s just the tale of the story to be honest. I thought we threw some OK shape at times tonight and then it was simple errors and kicks out, seven tackles, it just hurts you.
“The more we’re trying the worse it’s getting but we’re a group of men and we’ll go back and work hard for each other. No one is shying away from it and we’ll get through it.”
Player of the Game:
3. Ben Hunt
2. Josh Dugan
1. Corey Parker
Brisbane Broncos 26 (Corey Oates, Alex Glenn, Anthony Milford, Jordan Kahu tries; Corey Parker 4, Milford goals) def. St George Illawarra 0. Half-time: Broncos 12-0. Crowd: 29,869. Holden Cup: St George Illawarra 38-12.