After 259 agonising days, the Brisbane Broncos managed to break one of the club’s worst losing streaks with a much needed 24-0 shut out over the Canterbury Bulldogs.
After almost an hour of footy without a try, Brisbane fullback Jamayne Isaako (18 carries for 202 metres) broke the deadlock when he crossed in what can only be described as a relief for the 22,579 strong crowd.
Sidestepping his opposite after bursting through a yawning gap from 40 metres out, Isaako’s effort took the Broncos to an early 8-0 lead.
That’s when the shackles broke free for a Brisbane side desperate for victory.
A late double from youngster Xavier Coates (14 carries for 208 metres) sealed the win before the man everyone talked about all week, Tom Dearden (1 carry for 12 metres), scored under the posts after a cross field grubber kick from Herbie Farnworth (16 carries for 252 metres).
Broncos coach Kevin Walters fought back tears post game ecstatic with his team’s effort in defence.
“I’m just really happy for everyone involved, particularly the players,” Walters said.
“It’s a good start for us now. We’re out of the blocks.
“To hold any team to nil is a great result and thats probably more pleasing than anything tonight.”
Brisbane came out firing in the first ten minutes forcing multiple set restarts but failed to make the most of the pressure, with a penalty goal late in the half the only thing separating the two teams at the break.
“We were a bit scrappy and the Bulldogs were too in that first half,” Walters continued.
In what was an error riddled first half (six errors each) the Bulldogs looked to have turned the tide when Jake Averillo (11 carries for 101 metres) put Adam Elliot (15 carries for 110 metres) through a gap early in the first stanza, only for the edge forward to provide a shocking pass back inside to halfback Kyle Flanagan who couldn’t manage to reel it in.
Jeremy Marshall-King (five carriers for 42 metres) appeared to have scored six minutes later, only to be deemed to be held up by referee Cummins.
Four out of the five Brisbane backs made over 200 metres including veteran David Mead (20 carries for 208 metres) and while Isaako broke the shackles free late in the game, it was Herbie Farnsworth who proved a handful with two first half line breaks.
“He was really good,” Walters said.
“He’s one of these guys that really works hard on his game so it was good to see him tonight play the football that we know he’s capable of playing.”
Canterbury coach Trent Barrett was visibly disheartened by his team’s performance after the visitor’s failed to score a point against a Brisbane outfit that leaked 624 across 20 matches just last season.
“Our attack was ordinary to say the least,” Barrett said.
“In turn we’re putting too much pressure on ourselves defensively at the back end of the game.”
In what was a short-lived shining light for Barrett, hooker Jeremy Marshall-King was impactful in his return, but could now be facing more time on the sideline after possibly breaking his foot again.
“We looked a lot better when we were running from dummy half,” Barrett said.
“He [Marshall-King] ran well and he was going really well.
“Looks like he has broken his foot again.”
Brisbane’s next outing will be their round four away clash against Melbourne Storm, who now miraculously sit below the Broncos on the 2021 season ladder.
While Canterbury look ahead to their match against the high-flying South Sydney Rabbitohs.