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Round 17 vs. St. George Illawarra Dragons Discussion

Big Pete

Brisbane Broncos vs. St George Illawarra Dragons
Suncorp Stadium, Sunday 10 July 2022
Kick Off: 4:05pm


1. Tesi Niu 2. Corey Oates 3. Kotoni Staggs 4. Brenko Lee 5. Jordan Pereira 6. Ezra Mam 7. Adam Reynolds 8. Keenan Palasia 9. Billy Walters 10. Ryan James 11. Zac Hosking 12. Jordan Riki 13. Kobe Hetherington

Interchange: 14. Cory Paix 15. Rhys Kennedy 16. Xavier Willison 17. Tyson Gamble

Reserves: 18. Delouise Hoeter 19. Jake Turpin 20. Deine Mariner 21. Tyrone Roberts 22. Logan Bayliss-Brow


1. Cody Ramsey 2. Mathew Feagai 3. Moses Suli 4. Zac Lomax 5. Mikaele Ravalawa 6. Talatau Amone 7. Jayden Sullivan 8. Jack de Belin 9. Andrew McCullough 10. Blake Lawrie 11. Jack Bird 12. Jaydn Su'A 13. Tariq Sims

Interchange: 14. Moses Mbye 15. Francis Molo 16. Aaron Woods 17. Michael Molo

Reserves: 18. Jaiyden Hunt 19. Tautau Moga 20. Josh Kerr 21. Billy Burns 22. Jonathon Reuben​

Big Pete

It's shaping up to be a tough game for the Broncos. Representative duties and a mounting injury toll has decimated their playing stocks with Te Maire Martin, Selwyn Cobbo, Herbie Farnworth, Payne Haas, Corey Jensen, Kurt Capewell, Patrick Carrigan, Thomas Flegler all unavailable. To add insult to injury their depth options have taken a hit with TC Robati (broken arm) and Brendan Piakura (concussion) both being ruled out.

In some good news, Tesi Niu and Cory Paix will return for the game. I have a suspicion that they've been rushed into the team - Tesi only notched up 40 minutes for the Magpies in their disappointing performance against the Cutters and that was at centre. Meanwhile Paix has returned two weeks ahead of schedule after injurying his knee against the Canberra Raiders in the final play of that gutsy win by the Broncos.

All in all, it shapes up as a very difficult assignment. The Dragons have found their groove lately and produced their best win of the season a few weeks ago against the Rabbitohs. Although they're without their main playmaker in Ben Hunt, Jayden Sullivan is one of the most promising players coming through and Amone is beginning to make himself known in first grade. With a powerful backline and hardened forward pack the Broncos will have to be on their A game just to stay in the contest.

If they're to win, it'll largely come down to the spine and backline. The halves are really going to have to be on with their kicking game to control possession and territory. Then when the moments present themselves, Staggs and Oates are going to have to deliver to create that scoreboard pressure just to give the Broncos a sniff.

A win here would all but book the Broncos place in the finals at 10-6. However a loss makes it three on the trot and puts a lot of pressure on the Broncos to bounce back after an Origin game to beat the Titans.

Big Pete

Brisbane Broncos 32 (Hoeter 2, Staggs 2, Niu, Mam tries; Reynolds 4/6 goals) def. St George Illawarra Dragons 18


This was a really valuable win in the context of the season. With ten players unavailable through injuries & representative duties the Broncos had their work cut out for them. Especially against the Dragons who were jockeying for the Broncos Top 8 spot and haven't lost to Brisbane since 2017.

Fortunately for the Broncos the Dragons made their lives a lot easier. Tariq Sims tried to play the enforcer role early but it backfired as he spent two seperate stints in the sin-bin. I thought the first sin-bin was borderline, there was barely a second between Reynolds pass and Sims' hit but the NRL have been very protective of halves and Sims didn't miss with his shot.

The second was just lazy from Tariq and it was a huge turning point in the game. The Dragons were getting on top of Brisbane both on the scoreboard and in the ruck before Tariq's sin-bin brought the Broncos back into it.

Still with so many players missing, the Broncos attack was a shambles in that opening half. Passes went wide of the mark and players were making poor decisions at crucial times. Brisbane created a lot of over-laps only for a player to dummy and go themselves.

When they did score it was usually through individual efforts. Hoeter's opening try came off a quality Brenko Lee offload and even then Hoeter barely got over the line despite the one player advantage. Similarly, Niu's try was just a case of him taking advantage of the one man marker and have a stab from dummy half.

The try to Kotoni just on half-time was pivotal. It was the first time the Broncos worked together to create the opportunity. Shifting left on one play before going right to give Kotoni just enough room to slide over.

I thought the second half was much better from the Broncos. The Dragons had their opportunities early but the defence scrambled well and covered for one another. Tesi Niu in particular did well at fullback and when they went through the hands again to put Hoeter over for his double the Broncos had the clear ascdency.

It really opened up for the Broncos during this period. I thought Kennedy and Hetherington really held their own in the middle and turned a weakness into a strength. This was evident in the lead up to the Mam try where Kobe beat a tackle before finding a pass to Tesi who took it from there.

Again, I thought Tesi showed his value in that half. Not only in the lead up to the Mam try but the effort to put Pereira into space as well. It was an excellent pass to put Pereira outside of Feagai and the Broncos all but chalked the game up there.

The positive sign for the Broncos was the performance of their depth players. Hosking, Hoeter, Pereira were among the Broncos best and they all put in a whole-hearted effort. Combined with the strike that Niu, Staggs and Mam provided and it just gave them the ability to capitilise on their opportunities.

On first view, a very patchy performance but the Broncos hung in there and when they had the opportunity they piled on 3 tries in 10 minutes to run away with it. That seems to be their MO in 2022, just do enough to stay in touch before a golden 10 minute period gives them enough belief.

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