ANALYSIS: Souths humble Broncos however might lose competitors factors for 14th participant


One other week, one other assertion. Souths are the actual deal in 2023, placing the table-topping Broncos to the sword with a dominant 32-6 victory at Suncorp Stadium.

The outdated adage holds that championships are gained by defence, and this sport actually was. For a protracted interval within the first half, South Sydney withstood waves of Broncos assault, solely to sucker punch the hosts simply earlier than the break after which run riot after it.

Nevertheless, the Bunnies face the prospect of probably dropping their competitors factors after it emerged on Saturday morning that they doubtlessly had a 14th participant on the sphere for 30 seconds throughout the second half.

The NRL is finding out footage within the 53rd minute when Jai Arrow entered the sphere earlier than fellow ahead Tom Burgess headed for the interchange bench. Souths reportedly had not less than a few performs in possession throughout this era.

They really had a quick 14 on 12 benefit as a result of Brisbane centre Herbie Farnworth was within the sin bin for tripping.

Groups prior to now have been fined closely or misplaced their competitors factors for a win when discovered to have had an additional participant on the sphere.

(Picture by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Photographs)

Bunnies higher than final yr

No person has ever doubted the Bunnies with ball – simply ask final weekend’s victims, Penrith – however the distinction this yr is within the defence. Their resilience was greater than a match for the Broncos’ assault.

“The resilience and want to guard our line was all the pieces tonight, which it wanted to be,” stated coach Jason Demetriou.

“Defensively I used to be actually happy tonight. After a sluggish begin, we obtained some actual intent and made it laborious for Brisbane to get off their line. We took their attacking gamers away from the sport and allowed our boys to play some footy.”

When Souths obtained their likelihood with the footy, they did what they at all times do. Campbell Graham scored three, Latrell Mitchell scored two, Cody Walker obtained one and Lachlan Ilias proved why the Rabbitohs had been so keen to let Adam Reynolds go.

Reynolds was, for his half, by far the most effective in maroon and gold. His time at Souths was recent in his thoughts and greater than as soon as, it was clear that he knew the playbook inside out, producing two turnovers by anticipating strikes.

For as soon as, nevertheless, he didn’t have sufficient to go together with him. Payne Haas and Ezra Mam had been each banned after hip-drop tackles final week, eradicating two of essentially the most potent weapons that Brisbane have, and Reece Walsh had his quietest evening so far in a Broncos jersey.

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It isn’t as in the event that they didn’t have alternatives, both. Cam Murray was binned for knowledgeable foul early on, however the scores had been stage when he returned. When Herbie Farnworth was sat down for a visit within the second half, Souths made the very most of it.

“I assumed we began OK, however we had been on the slippery slide for a lot of the match,” stated Kevin Walters. “We had some good discipline place however a few alternatives that we didn’t take and paid for it ultimately by not constructing any scoreboard strain. The longer the sport went the more serious we obtained.

“You must seize your alternatives. Souths have been a great facet for a very long time now and so they confirmed up tonight with a great mentality. They performed higher than us. We obtained what we deserved and so they obtained what they deserved.”

Forwards beat backs

When the Broncos are at their finest, it’s when their backs are carrying the footy. They had been way more expansive than maybe anticipated – perhaps inspired by a person benefit – however the bulk of it was the powerful stuff.

If Brisbane get a set that goes winger, winger, centre, centre, kick then they’ve finished one thing proper.

Often they’d have Haas so as to add that spark, however with out him, it went into overdrive. Souths obtained no discipline place to work with within the first half, and that was largely right down to the success of the again 5 in forcing the sport into their finish. It was assault as the most effective type of defence from Brisbane.

Souths go about issues very in another way. Reynolds’ kicking compelled them to return by way of their backs, but it surely was solely a section. As soon as the large males obtained going, they didn’t cease.

Tom Burgess and Tevita Tatola began off the bench however each ended up with over 200m. Once more, it may need been completely different if Haas had featured, however pretty much as good as he’s, it will have been a stretch for him to cease the roll.

Once they gained the ground, there have been few surprises about the best way that Souths went about their work. Even a person down, Souths performed their footy to the left, going by fingers from the appropriate tramline, and on the appropriate, Ilias sought to search out his backrower off his hip. 

The large left shift that everybody is aware of is coming labored, with Alex Johnston making two breaks and butchering extra, but it surely’s now as a lot use as a pretend as it’s in actuality. The good scrumbase attempt that got here simply earlier than half time was with the road unfold on the left, just for Souths to go proper.

For the second week in a row, the Bunnies withstood an assault primarily based on massive backline metres and answered it with a ahead punch of their very own. If they will win that little bit of the argument, there’s not a crew within the comp that may resist their assault for the time being – as Brisbane discovered.

Brisbane can’t break the Bunnies

Brisbane’s assault early on appeared fairly easy: maintain the center, hit the sting with lengthy passing. Reynolds threw six passes over the Souths wingers within the first 20 minutes, and it wasn’t a lot the passes however the half-step cease earlier than them that shone. Reynolds clearly knew forward of time that the Bunnies wingers would jam and was set to take advantage of it as typically as doable.

However Souths are fabricated from stern stuff. 15 tackles on their very own line within the first half doesn’t faze them anymore.

Final yr, Souths will surely have conceded extra factors than they did, however the goalline resilience has improved massively and so they obtained to the tip of Murray’s time within the bin with the scores stage, then rejected extra afterwards.

In different video games this yr, Brisbane most likely would have anticipated to attain extra, too. Even with out Mam as a inventive drive, Reece Walsh was subdued and Reynolds left to plough a lone furrow. 

The dearth of penetration in good ball got here again to chew the Broncos on the bottom. Having confronted no purple ball defence in any respect, they conceded on the 2 events that Souths obtained into their finish, and meekly too. The second half opened, and the identical factor occurred once more.

These are the margins on the very high. The sport plan labored for Brisbane, not less than for 40 minutes, however they ended behind and questioning what occurred.

As many suspected within the build-up, the 7-1 report flattered them given the opposition they’ve confronted and Souths and Penrith at the moment are simply that stage above. It isn’t to say that Brisbane gained’t be within the combat later within the yr, however they obtained a lesson within the pointy finish of the NRL tonight.

Get Graham right into a Blues jumper now

There’s a logjam forming within the centres for New South Wales. Jack Wighton might have retired, however each Latrell Mitchell and Tom Trbojevic are again within the combine and final yr’s choices, Stephen Crichton and Matt Burton, are nonetheless hanging round.

Kotoni Staggs was ditched after one sport final yr, whereas Campbell Graham wasn’t even thought of, regardless of later making the Kangaroos squad and impressing on the World Cup.

Tonight pitted Kotoni and Campbell in opposition to one another, and there was just one winner. Staggs was completely nice and an enormous consider the most effective of Brisbane’s backline yardage work – it’s simply that Graham was distinctive.

The hat trick of tries showcased his line operating, ending and kick chasing skills, which go proper alongside his widely-recognised place as probably the greatest defensive centres within the sport. 

It’d find yourself as a query of horses for programs, with Graham in a position to take over from the hamstrung Daniel Tupou on a wing – the place he performed for Australia – and Mitchell and Turbo resuming their jobs within the centres.

However such is the type of Stretch that it wouldn’t in any respect be a shock if Brad Fittler picked him his favoured place at centre and shifted Tommy T out to a wing to accommodate.

“He’s taking part in good footy,” stated Blues ahead and Souths cpatain Cam Murray.

“He’s a type of teammates that you just love operating out subsequent o and you’ll belief him each time he’s there. He’s at all times a great teammate.

“He’s a type of you need to play for and a teammate you don’t need to let down. I’ve seen saying for some time that he’s earned it, particularly off the again of what he did on the World Cup and his type in the beginning of the yr.”



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