Rabbitohs v Broncos: Five key points
The Broncos absolutely dominated as the Rabbitohs left their finals fate in the hands of their fellow finals contenders. Here are the five key points to come out of Brisbane's 47-12 win over South Sydney on Thursday.
Broncos return to form in memorable fashion
After falling short against the Roosters last weekend, the Broncos allayed any fears of falling flat from their five-day turnaround to hand out an eight-tries-to-two shellacking of the Rabbitohs.
Topping the NRL Telstra Premiership table temporarily once again, the Broncos were led outstandingly by halves Ben Hunt and Anthony Milford – who scored five tries and produced 10 tackle breaks between them.
"They were outstanding. They took control when we needed them to and they really stood up for us," captain Justin Hodges said after the win.
Coach Wayne Bennett added: "It's what we have been working towards, to play games with good execution. We know the benefits of that and we know the repercussions if we don't."
Dylan Walker struggles with fullback demands
Perhaps a personification of the Rabbitohs woes, Dylan Walker's first foray as a fullback in the NRL didn't exactly go to plan.
Not to say he didn't have a good game – Walker made 170 metres and broke three tackles – but he definitely struggled with the rigours of the expansive role involved with playing in the custodian role.
Clearly gassed within the first 25 minutes Walker had to call upon teammates Bryson Goodwin and Alex Johnston several times to go out the back so he could regather himself on the wing. You don't see Greg Inglis doing that, ever.
Wayne Bennett's first win over Michael Maguire
It took him six attempts but Bennett has finally overcome Rabbitohs coach Michael Maguire.
While Bennett's woes against the Souths mentor is more a reflection on the struggles of Bennett's former team Newcastle, the Brisbane coach ensured he snapped up his own losing streak against Maguire by sealing the Broncos' biggest win over the Rabbitohs since 1995.
Not that the veteran mentor was worried, instead crediting his team's defence.
"Defence is our strength. Attack is on and off at different stages but our defence has been pretty constant all year," Bennett said.
"Our first game against South Sydney and then the one against Manly are the only blow-out scores we have had on us all year so they have been really good."
Issac Luke doesn't learn
After missing last week due to a dangerous throw suspension, Rabbitohs hooker Issac Luke made sure he'd endure a nervous wait following his shoulder charge on Corey Oates midway through the second half – just a week after being cleared of one.
With 35 carryover points and two prior non-similar citations, any charge from the Match Review committee means Luke will miss two matches. Potentially the Warriors-bound rake's Rabbitohs career could be over.
Competition ladder intrigues again
While the battle for the minor premiership remains a three-horse race, it's the bottom half of the top eight which holds the most intrigue.
With a top four berth on the line the Rabbitohs began the round in the highly sought after fourth spot. Now they could very well end the weekend at seventh if the Sharks, Storm and Bulldogs come up with wins – a very real possibility.
Not that Maguire cares. "I'm not really concerned about where that is. I care more about how we play," the Rabbitohs coach said.