A brilliant Darius Boyd has fired Brisbane to a 30-10 win over South Sydney to get his team’s NRL season back on track.
After being rocked by back-to-back big losses, the Broncos trampled the depleted Rabbitohs on Saturday night in front of 13,111 fans at ANZ Stadium.
Backing up just three days after State of Origin III at the same ground, the Broncos’ fullback cemented his reputation as arguably the form player of the competition.
Standing in as skipper in the absence of the suspended Corey Parker, Boyd set up two of his side’s three first-half tries as they took an 18-6 halftime lead.
Already without skipper Greg Inglis (suspension), the Rabbitohs were dealt a heavy blow in the warm-up when NSW playmaker Adam Reynolds was ruled out with a quad strain and they slumped to their sixth straight loss.
After winning just one of their previous six, the Broncos and – in particular halves Ben Hunt and Anthony Milford – rebounded to form. Hunt crossed in the opening half for his first four-pointer since round eight.
Brisbane drew first blood when Boyd threw a looping cut-out pass to set up Lachlan Maranta before coming up with an almost identical play on the other side of the field to put Corey Oates over in the 19th minute.
Both sides failed to trouble the scoreboard for almost 40 minutes with the Broncos going close on three occasions – with Boyd held up, Oates losing the ball as he reached for the corner and Maranta putting a foot over the sideline.
However, the game was iced when James Roberts burnt three defenders to score a scintillating solo effort and Oates ran the length of the field.
South Sydney fullback Cody Walker, who during the week shunned a Brisbane offer and re-signed for three seasons with Souths, and was his side’s best, scoring a late consolation try.
Luckless Broncos centre Jordan Kahu is facing yet another stint on the sidelines after aggravating a pec injury in his first game back after missing the past month.
Hooker Andrew McCullough also has a nervous wait on his hands after being put on report for a high tackle on Angus Crichton.
Kahu is set to be sidelined for two to four weeks after straining his pec.
Broncos coach Wayne Bennett said his side wasn’t yet back to its best but was hoping to hit their strides in the next fortnight.
“The signs were good tonight,” Bennett said.
“We’ll get a bit more confidence and next week we’ll pick it up a bit again and hopefully have two or three weeks of good football and we’ll be back.”
Maguire said he hoped Reynolds would be fit to play next week.
He lamented his side’s inability to hold onto the ball and said the scoreline wasn’t a fair reflection.
“We’re it giving ourselves an opportunity at the moment,” Maguire said.
“I don’t think we’ve won a completion rate for quite a couple of months now.
“It’s something we’re working on and need to make sure we continually improve.”