Broncos annihilate Rabbitohs
The Brisbane Broncos smashed reigning premiers South Sydney 47-12 to temporarily return to the top of the NRL Telstra Premiership ladder and sound an ominous warning to every team in the competition.
In a night to remember for the Broncos, their 35-point victory has opened up the door for the Rabbitohs to finish the round as low as seventh - pending other results - in what has been a massive fall from grace following their amazing season start to the year.
What was Brisbane coach Wayne Bennett's first ever victory over opposite coach Michael Maguire, the game will be remembered most for halves Ben Hunt and Anthony Milford scoring five tries between them – including Hunt's first NRL hattrick.
Compounding South Sydney's woes was captain John Sutton's suspected broken leg suffered in the 50th minute, and hooker Issac Luke being placed on report for a shoulder charge soon after.
Stamping their authority on the game from the get-go and allaying concerns of falling flat following their five-day turnaround, Brisbane's first try came in the seventh minute when an Adam Blair offload helped produce a Milford line break for winger Jordan Kahu to score in the corner on the opposite side of the field.
The pressure doubled in the 13th minute when winger Corey Oates ran 95 metres to score, after catching an Adam Reynolds cross-field kick, despite the persistence of fullback Dylan Walker along the way.
The Broncos were able to go the length of the field off the ensuing kick-off, again when Blair put Milford through a gaping hole 10 metres out from their own try-line.
Putting team before personal glory, Milford sent it out wide to centre Jack Reed who ended the play by throwing inside for halfback Hunt to score under the posts.
Kahu scored his second in the 24th minute in what was a simple through-the-hands movement, in a passage of play that made it abundantly clear Rabbitoh Walker's fitness wasn't up to the rigours of playing fullback for an entire game.
Chris Grevsmuhl's try in the 29th minute was the lone highlight in the first half for the Rabbitohs, ensuring the half-time deficit was cut to 16.
Brisbane carried their dominance into the second half when Hunt scored his second after cheekily stealing the ball from Rabbitohs back-rower Glenn Stewart in the 46th minute.
Rabbitoh Luke darted from dummy half to score in the 56th minute brought some relief, but it all came undone for them when Milford scored with no-one in front of him from a Hunt grubber in the 63rd minute.
Hunt's first ever NRL hattrick came three minutes later when a 30 metre line break from dummy half by Justin Hodges allowed the Broncos captain to send his halfback over.
Milford's second of the evening came four minutes from time when Hunt weaved his way through non extistent Rabbitohs defence to send his halves partner in, while Milford's field goal capped of the victory.
Brisbane Broncos 47 (Ben Hunt 3, Jordan Kahu 2, Anthony Milford 2, Corey Oates Tries; Corey Parker 6, Jordan Kahu Goals, Anthony Milford Field Goal) defeated South Sydney Rabbitohs 12 (Chris Grevsmuhl, Issac Luke Tries; Adam Reynolds 2 Goals) at Allianz Stadium. Crowd: 12,036. Half-time: Brisbane 22-6. On Report: Issac Luke (Rabbitohs).