Griffin's faith in out-muscled big men
For the second game in succession an opposition forward pack has run roughshod over the Broncos in the opening 20 minutes of the first half but Brisbane coach Anthony Griffin is adamant that the men currently in the middle are the ones to turn it around.
Cowboys co-captain Matthew Scott had a field day through the middle of the Broncos ruck as the Cowboys shot out to a 14-0 lead inside the opening 17 minutes but the home side weren't able to seal a 27-14 win until two tries in the final eight minutes.
A win by South Sydney on Saturday night against the Titans will push the Broncos out of the top eight and make their slow starts to their past two games seem even more critical.
George and Sam Burgess combined for 416 metres when the Rabbitohs defeated the Broncos 28-26 after jumping out to a 14-0 lead and on Friday night it was Scott's turn to rack up big numbers, running for 237 metres, making two line breaks and scoring a try.
With much conjecture in the build-up centring on Griffin's decision to drop Ben Hannant to the Intrust Super Cup, Brisbane's coach admitted to being disappointed in the output of his big men but has faith that they can make amends next Friday against the Titans.
"For eight weeks we've been pretty good except for the first 20 minutes against Souths and we come up with that again. We've got the right personnel, we've just got to be better," Griffin said.
"We prepared pretty well all week and the first four or five minutes we looked like we were going OK but as soon as we had to do some defence there in the middle part of the field in the first part of that first half we opened up."
Brisbane co-captain Justin Hodges was even more damning in his appraisal, saying that the Cowboys big men got the better of the centre exchanges and lamenting some poor defensive reads late in the game.
"Their forwards just out-muscled ours to be honest. Matty Scott had a field day," said Hodges, who is likely to be a Maroons teammate of Scott's when the teams for Origin I are announced in less than two weeks time.
"He's one of the best props in the game. What he's done in the game is fantastic and take nothing away from him, he played well; full credit to him.
"We got ourselves back in the game and we had a chance to win but just poor reads in defence cost us. We had a chance to win the game but we just didn't execute at the end at the right times."
The Broncos scored the opening try of the game in six of their first seven games of the season but have given the Rabbitohs and Cowboys sizeable head-starts in their past two matches.
On both occasions they have fought their way back into the contest in admirable fashion but the toll of early points has eventually weighed too heavily.
"We were chasing the game all night, down 14-0," Griffin conceded. "We give ourselves a chance a couple of times there but it was a tight game, you give away 14 you're always going to be running the gauntlet.
"I thought we'd got ourselves back into the game by half-time even though it was 14-0 and we did the first 20 minutes of that second half again. I thought we were getting the better of the game and getting ourselves into a position to win the game but in the end we just weren't strong enough.
"We had enough troops out there tonight and we got ourselves into a position to win the game again but unfortunately let it slip."