A sweetly struck field goal by star recruit Kurt Capewell helped Brisbane to an 11-4 win over an out-of-sorts South Sydney at Suncorp Stadium on Friday night.
Taking over the captaincy in Adam Reynolds' absence, Capewell capped a superb game with the booming field goal from 25 metres out with four minutes to play.
After having a try to Selwyn Cobbo in the 14th minute denied by a desperate cover tackle from Jaxson Paulo, the Broncos finally broke the deadlock in the 23rd minute when Albert Kelly intercepted a Cody Walker pass and sprinted 85 metres to score.
The Rabbitohs' left edge then clicked into gear with Josh Mansour taking the final pass from Paulo to put the finishing touches on a try which got Souths back within two points.
Kurt Capewell can do it all
The Broncos were next to strike when Corey Oates soared through the air to plant the ball down for the 99th try of his career. The final pass for Oates' try was a beauty from Capewell, who showed enough in one night to suggest he'll be one of the buys of the year.
Youngster Lachlan Ilias had a mixed night as he tried to put his stamp on the match but the Rabbitohs were well short of their best and were held to their lowest score since they were humbled 50-0 by Melbourne in round nine last year.
With four minutes to play the Broncos iced the morale-boosting win when the first field goal of Capewell's career made it 11-4.
Match: Broncos v Rabbitohs
Round 1 -
Venue: Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
- A case of deja vu for Rabbitohs five-eighth Cody Walker, throwing an intercept pass for Albert Kelly to score on the same ground where he was picked off by Panther Stephen Crichton in last year's grand final.
- Rabbitohs forward Tevita Tatola was placed on report for a dangerous tackle in the 18th minute of the match.
- Payne Haas picked up where he left off last year with another mammoth performance for Brisbane. The 2021 prop of the year had 19 runs for 164 metres, four tackle breaks and four offloads.
- Young No.1 Blake Taaffe was a late withdrawal for Souths with an ankle injury forcing a backline reshuffle with Alex Johnston going to fullback and veteran Josh Mansour coming in on the wing.
- After being outscored 81-6 by the Rabbitohs in 2021, the Broncos found their defensive muscle and dug deep to keep the potent Souths outfit to just one try. Jake Turpin led the way defensively with 52 tackles.
- Corey Oates needs just one more try to join the Broncos' 100 Club. Steve Renouf tops the list on 142, followed by Darren Lockyer 122, Michael Hancock 120, Wendell Sailor 110 and Allan Langer 100.
Payne Haas is everywhere
Plays of the Game
Almost 12 years to the day (March 13, 2010) since he made his NRL debut for Cronulla, Albert Kelly showed there's still plenty of life on the old legs as he outpaced the Rabbitohs defence on an 85-metre sprint to score Brisbane's opening try from an intercept. He may be closing in on his 31st birthday but Kelly remains a livewire in attack and his experience proved crucial as the game went down to the wire ... and that's where Kurt Capewell stepped up with a field goal no one expected from the premiership-winning Panther.
Albert Kelly goes all the way
What They Said
"I thought Lachlan [Ilias] defended outstandingly and that's a big part of his game. I think he can own his kicking a little bit more but it's a work in progress. I think the only way he is going to get better is to be out there. His temperament is very good and he'll learn on the run." - Rabbitohs coach Jason Demetriou
"I thought our defence was the best it has been since I've been here and that's the sort of stuff that we can really build a team around - that desire and that will to stop them from the scoring. It was a tough, gritty game and we haven't played that way for a long time and that's what Kurt [Capewell] brings to the team, that grittiness, that drive, that hang in there. That was a typical game that Kurt shines in." - Broncos coach Kevin Walters
NRL Press Conference: Broncos v Rabbitohs - Round 1, 2022
The Broncos will enjoy an eight-day break before they face the new-look Bulldogs in Sydney. Skipper Adam Reynolds and forward Kobe Hetherington are due back from COVID protocols in a boost for Brisbane. The last time the two sides met the Broncos prevailed 24-0 at Suncorp - one of just seven wins for Kevin Walters' men in 2021.
The Rabbitohs welcome back superstar fullback Latrell Mitchell for their trip to AAMI Park to open round two against the Storm.