Dog shot: Skipper out as Broncos snap losing streak
Broncos skipper Alex Glenn is facing up to six weeks on the sidelines after a disgraceful dog-shot from Reimis Smith took the gloss off embattled Brisbane's first win in 113 days on Saturday night at Suncorp Stadium.
It wasn't pretty, and at times it was downright ugly, but the Broncos ended six weeks of tears, torment and misery with a 26-8 disposal of the Bulldogs that will ease pressure on besieged Broncos coach Anthony Seibold.
But the joy of Brisbane's first win since the NRL's COVID return was tempered by the sight of Glenn being carried off in the 54th minute with a knee injury after a needless cannonball tackle from Smith.
Kayo is your ticket to the 2020 NRL Telstra Premiership. Every game of every round Live & On-Demand with no-ad breaks during play. New to Kayo? Get your 14-day free trial & start streaming instantly >
Glenn was already well held by the Bulldogs when Smith charged in with a third-man missile tackle which triggered a roar of agony from the Broncos captain. Smith was duly placed on report and is almost certain to be suspended for a play that summed up Canterbury's poor timing and general ineptitude.
Broncos coach Seibold won't be doing cartwheels at this victory but the triumph snapped a six-match losing streak and will build Brisbane's confidence ahead of this Friday night's away clash against Wests Tigers.
Broncos prop Tevita Pangai Jr was outstanding, scoring a try and having a hand in two with clever late offloads, while winger Jamayne Isaako posted a double as Brisbane saluted for the first time since March 20.
The Broncos remain in the bottom four with six competition points but at least the win moves them clear of the beleaguered Bulldogs, who are dead last with one win.
Buoyed by Pangai Jr and Payne Haas, who ran for 210 metres, Brisbane were never headed, leading 10-4 at half-time before Anthony Milford terrorised Canterbury with his kicking game after the break.
SIXES AND SEVENS
Besieged Broncos halves Milford and Brodie Croft still have work to do on their scrumbase synergy. Croft was just solid, while Milford telegraphed a number of passes to his support runners and while he tried to take the line on a few times, he lacked true conviction to bust the line. But Milford's kicking game in the second half was excellent. Isaako chased down his pinpoint 40-metre kick to score for a crucial 16-4 lead in the 44th minute.
Pangai Jr provided another dimension to Brisbane's midfield. The Tongan torpedo was the best player on the park in the first half. He produced six offloads overall and it was his second-phase play which set the platform for Corey Oates' opening try in the seventh minute. Pangai Jr had a spicy running battle with Canterbury's British recruit Luke Thompson with the pair colliding heavily several times as they flexed their muscle.
It was a bitter-sweet NRL debut for Bulldogs firebrand Thompson. The former St Helens prop was placed on report in the 37th minute for a shoulder charge on Pangai Jr but that blemish aside, Thompson looks the goods. The 25-year-old made his presence felt with some strong runs. He looks the classic British forward in the mould of Adrian Morley and Sam Burgess _ a no-nonsense hulk who relishes the tough stuff. The Dogs of War DNA will suit him perfectly.
The Bulldogs deserve to win the wooden spoon. They have the worst attack in the league and it showed last night with Canterbury simply clueless in attack. Their backline moves are slow and clunky and they make too many fundamental errors to build any pressure.
FIVE THINGS WE LEARNT ...
1. Don't get too excited Broncos fans - this was the ultimate case of winning ugly. While Brisbane snapped a six-match losing streak, this contest was as appetising as a lukewarm truck-stop meat pie. These teams are in the bottom four and they played accordingly. Finals football is a mile away for the Broncos, but at least they have a win to kickstart confidence after 113 days of misery.
2. The Broncos are set to lose skipper Alex Glenn for up to six weeks with a knee injury. The former Kiwi Test back-rower was carried off in the 54th minute with a knee injury after a disgraceful cannonball tackle from Reimis Smith, who was duly placed on report. Glenn has battled hamstring and calf injuries this season and scans will determine the severity of medial ligament damage.
3. Broncos powerhouse Tevita Pangai Jr produced his best game of the season. The Tongan international stepped up in the absence of injured enforcer Matt Lodge and terrorised the Bulldogs with his hard-running and dangerous second-phase. Pangai Jr muscled up to British Bulldog Luke Thompson and set the tone with a fine early offload which led to Corey Oates' opening try in the seventh minute.
4. The Broncos are encouraging Anthony Milford to run but it was his kicking game which proved the difference. While Milford is still lacking confidence in his running game, he kicked superbly in the second half, including the 40-metre effort for a flying Jamayne Isaako to give Brisbane a crucial 16-4 lead.
5. Broncos coach Anthony Seibold should give rookie prop Tom Flegler a rocket. Flegler was outstanding in round two but since his return from COVID, the 20-year-old has lost the plot. Flegler made two shocking handling errors and threw a terrible forward pass from dummy half. Flegler should forget the finesse and just put his head down and run hard.
Originally published as Dog shot: Skipper out as Broncos snap losing streak