Broncos v Eels: Five Key Points
The Broncos made it six wins from eight with victory over the Eels in their Anzac Day clash. Here are five key points from Brisbane's Round 8 win.
Broncos love an arm wrestle
It was called "tradesman-like" in commentary and it became clear very early that the Eels were going to have to earn every yard they took on Saturday night. Simple one-out football through the middle third of the field by the Broncos lured the Eels into getting into a grind with them rather than playing the expansive, hard-running football that invariably produces their best football.
Parramatta looked dangerous early through Manu Ma'u on the left edge but as the game developed they became less adventurous and lost the game of 'who'll blink first'. A lack of polish at the end of their sets and lapses in concentration at key times enabled the Broncos to post easy points and then revert to their grinding football that has taken them to the top of the table through eight rounds. The Eels have not yet developed into a team capable of going the distance with the top teams and coach Brad Arthur knows it.
"Just some concentration lapses. One tackle or five second period, that's what cost us," Arthur said.
"We drop the ball, they pick it up and score. We put a kick in with three minutes to go only six points behind – whether we could have scored or not, we won't know – and you just get one person that doesn't want to chase...
"It's just individuals at times have a concentration lapse and they hurt us, and that's what hurt us tonight."
Corey Parker writes another piece of Broncos history
In what may be a season of milestones for Corey Parker the industrious Broncos back-rower chalked up another on Saturday night with his 500th goal for the club, the first player in Brisbane's history to reach the lofty mark. Parker kicked six goals against the Eels to take his tally to 501 goals and with his 34 career tries has accumulated 1,138 points in his career, just 53 shy of Darren Lockyer's club record of 1,191 points. Having brought up his 300th game for the club in Round 1, Parker joins a select group to have kicked more than 500 goals in premiership matches although he remains a long way behind the two most prolific goal-kicking forwards. Melbourne captain Cameron Smith has now kicked 774 goals while former Steeler, Dragon and Rooster Craig Fitzgibbon piloted 718 goals between the posts in his distinguished career.
Chris Sandow loves Suncorp Stadium
He couldn't deliver his team the two competition points on this occasion but there's no question Chris Sandow has an affinity with Suncorp Stadium. Man of the match at the ground 12 months earlier, Sandow had a hand in each of Parramatta's three tries and was heavily involved from the outset. A 40/20 kick in the first four minutes of the game put his side on the attack and from the ensuing set he earned his team a repeat set with a grubber into the in-goal. He sparked the Eels' first try just before half-time with a superb cut-out pass for Corey Norman to put Bureta Faraimo over for the first of his three tries and provided the last pass for Faraimo's third, his conversion from near the sideline getting his team back within a converted try of the Broncos. Unfortunately for Eels fans, a fourth slice of Sandow magic proved elusive.
Front-rowers scoring tries is fun
When John Folau spilt his lollies 30 metres out and Josh McGuire picked up the dregs, none of the 34,398 fans on hand expected the big front-rower to pin his ears back and outpace the shell-shocked opposition. But in a run reminiscent of legendary Broncos hooker Kerrod Walters the head went back and he surprised even himself with his second four-pointer of the year beside the posts six minutes into the second half that gave the Broncos a handy 16-6 advantage. Then with clock nearing the 70th minute mark Eels skipper Tim Mannah was denied what would have been just his third try in his 151st game in the top grade and first since Round 6, 2012.
"To be honest, I honestly thought I did get it down but when they give it a 'no try' it's always going to be hard," Mannah said of the referral to the video referee.
"I knew it was pretty messy under there, it was more the second effort where I thought I got it down."
Sorry Tim, at this stage you're on track for a third straight nudie run at the end of the year.
Sometimes the numbers do lie
If you were a person fond of number patterns, a scan of the statistical sheet would have convinced you that the Eels enjoyed a strong win on Saturday night. They completed at 81 per cent, ran for more metres, had two less errors, made one more line break, missed seven fewer tackles, had twice as many fast play-the-balls, forced three dropouts to nil and had seven more offloads yet were on the wrong end of a 28-16 scoreline, perhaps due in part to a 7-2 penalty count against them.
"I wouldn't doubt that," Broncos coach Wayne Bennett said of the statistical anomaly.
"We just made the big plays; we got there and they couldn't pick those up.
"They came to play here tonight. We both had 85 per cent ball control in that first half; that means they're on.
"They were up tempo in the second half and really went for the jugular on us to get back into the game but we held and held and all of a sudden we'd scored down the other end on them."