A mid-season form slump saw plenty of questions raised about Brisbane’s premiership credentials, those questions were answered in resounding fashion on Friday night.
The Broncos’ 26-16 win over Melbourne at AAMI Park, off the back of a vital result against Canterbury the week before, showed that no matter where they finish on the NRL ladder, the Broncos will be a dangerous opponent come the playoffs.
Brisbane got the better of Melbourne in the middle of the park behind the leadership and energy of milestone men Sam Thaiday (250th game) and Matt Gillett (150th game).
Captain Corey Parker insisted the difference in the way the Broncos are playing is simply their improved execution.
“I think for us, it is just actions,” said Parker.
“That’s what was missing, I suppose, six weeks ago.
“We weren’t putting those actions in place, that’s where we’ve turned it around.”
Coach Wayne Bennett was clear in his feelings that recovering from the busy State of Origin period was the main reason for Brisbane’s return to prominence.
“It all happened through the Origin period,” said Bennett of his team’s earlier form slump.
“You forget when you are finding fault with us and criticising us,, but on two occasions, they had to back-up three games in eight days.
“No club had more representatives in Origin than we did. It has a huge impact on your club.”
Melbourne captain Cameron Smith agreed that, having recovered from the effects of representative football, Brisbane’s class was beginning to show.
“Oh yeah, they’ve got a quality side. I know they went through a bit of a rough patch there through Origin,” Smith said.
“That’s always going to take its toll on a team. But they all look quite refreshed now and they are all playing well.”