Broncos coach Anthony Seibold was proud of the grit and fight in his side after fighting back from a 14-point deficit to all but snatch a win over Souths at the death before losing 22-20 at Suncorp Stadium.
It was a case of so near but so far for Brisbane when Corey Oates was cut down just short of the line by Damien Cook with time almost up.
The last time the Broncos played Souths they were blown away 38-6 and with Souths up 22-8 in the second half on Friday there was a threat that could happen again - but the Broncos side of round 23 is a far different proposition to the one of round eight.
Tries to David Fifita and Kotoni Staggs narrowed the gap to two points but the home side were unable to ice the match when they had a couple of chances.
Despite the loss the Broncos are still in seventh position on 23 points and Penrith’s loss to the Cowboys has done them a favour.
“I am really proud of the way our guys are progressing but really disappointed with the result. Our guys came here to win but we couldn’t have hung in a quality game of football like that earlier in the year,” Seibold said.
“We weren’t a million miles away but in the big game against quality opposition you’ve got to take your chances and we didn’t. We got held up a few times and dropped the ball a few times. They got three chances and they made us pay.
“We don’t get anywhere near Souths earlier in the year so I was pleased to see that even when Souths scored 14 points in three minutes we didn’t panic.
"The boys were really composed, we made a number of line breaks and scored a few tries and made a few more line breaks at the end. We looked pretty likely.
"I was really proud of the fight and the grit. It is something that has been building and we have been a lot more consistent over the past couple of months except for the Storm game.”
The performance of 19-year-old Fifita was stunning. He scored two cracking tries, one from a 30 metre solo run, and broke 16 tackles in a display of brute strength and plenty of skill.
“He was really good. He made a lot of tackle breaks and ran with intent. He gave the Bunnies right-hand side a fair bit of grief,” Seibold said.
Fifita is off-contract at the end of next year and Seibold said he would be a priority re-signing.
Seibold said both sides showed plenty of character in a cracking game of football and conceded Souths hooker Cook was the difference with his creativity and late trysaver on Oates.
The Broncos certainly showed enough to suggest they will be a force to be reckoned with should they play finals football.
“We are in the top eight still with two rounds to go so everything is in our own hands,” Seibold said.