Errors and ill-discipline haunt the Broncos
Broncos mentor Wayne Bennett singled out his side's play-the-ball infringements and loose carries coming out of their own end as the main catalysts for the 36-6 defeat against Souths on Thursday night.
Despite both side having very similar penalty and error counts, Bennett highlighted that the ill-discipline on display by his team which curtailed any meaningful pressure the Broncos were able to place on the defending premiers.
The Broncos made 12 handling errors compared to the Rabbitohs' 11, while Brisbane pipped the Bunnies 11-10 in the penalty count. Although there wasn't a stark contrast in regards to those particular statistics, they did ensure that the Rabbitohs had nine more sets than the Broncos with a 61 percent possession rate.
That increased pressure enabled Souths to pile on four tries to one in the second half, extending an eight-point lead at half-time into a 30-point victory.
"South Sydney were extremely good and there's a lot of lessons in that. We need to realise what the good teams do, compared to the teams that aren't so good," Bennett said.
"We've got to get a lot of unforced errors out of our game. Until we do that, we won't match it with them. "
Bennett had complemented Souths prior to Thursday's clash by labelling them as 'predictable' and comparing their style of play to his successful Broncos teams of the 1990s.
"The bottom line is [Souths] have been doing that for two to three years now – that's their DNA – that's the point I made [earlier in the week] about their predictability," he said.
"What you saw out there tonight [the Broncos] have been doing for the last two to three years as a club.
"We're predictable at being unpredictable."
The mastercoach was also clearly unimpressed by a series of penalties conceded by former skipper Sam Thaiday, who endured a difficult match and is still finding his match fitness after only playing 40 minutes of football during the pre-season.
"He gave himself a break by giving away three penalties. So sometimes you don't need an interchange to give yourself a break," he said.
"It's not acceptable from Sam to be honest with you. He's an Australian [Test] player and 200-game player here and he just knows that [play-the-ball] stuff doesn't work.
"In [one instance] we had them on our try-line under a huge amount of pressure and all of a sudden we're on our own try-line defending three sets in a row.
"That's the part we need to change, South Sydney didn't do that."
New Broncos captain Justin Hodges also toed Bennett's line regarding team ill-discipline.
"Like Wayne said, we just made too many errors at crucial times and panicked a little bit under pressure," Hodges said.
"Obviously when you play a top side like Souths you've got to take your chances and we didn't."