The Brisbane Broncos, also now known as the Harlem Globetrotters, dismantled an insipid Sharks side to run out 32-10 winners. Here’s six things we learned.
1 Brisbane turn up the heat
Brisbane have piled on 86 points in the past fortnight after copping a shock battering by the Eels. They now possess the best attack in the competition, averaging almost 25 per game. Maintaining those numbers in the finals may be a step too far but nobody will want to be facing the Broncos' attack at the moment.
There is a similar feel to their 2015 Grand Final charge. They have so many strike players with the likes of Kodi Nikorima, Ben Hunt, Anthony Milford and James Roberts also able to burst open a match. A Storm Premiership is no foregone conclusion.
2 Sharks a spent force?
Their attack was plagued with 16 errors while their defence offered little resistance to an attacking onslaught from the Broncos, amassing 56 missed tackles. Recent losses to lowly teams have only added to their woes and concerns over their Premiership defence. Chad Townsend was influential in the rise of the Sharks last season but has been nowhere near those efforts this year. Andrew Fifita was prematurely branded as the best front-rower in the game after game one of Origin and despite playing consistent footy, has not reached anywhere near that level.
If the Sharks are to do what no team has since Brisbane, they need to work together as a team and give 100%. At times, it seems like Luke Lewis is one of the few blokes that is willing to give his all for the team.
3 Broncos have gaps to fill next year
Tautau Moga, Herman Ese'ese, Hunt, Jai Arrow, Benji Marshall and possibly Adam Blair are moving on next year, leaving gaping holes in the Brisbane ranks for 2018. David Mead is contracted until 2018 and is an excellent back line proposition while Jack Bird could take a halves position, with Nikorima moving back to the bench.
However, it still leaves the club short on stock for backup outside backs and forwards, two areas which have already lacked options this year.
4 Referees step up
In recent weeks there has been a noticeable shift in referees' confidence and decision making. Officials are calling the game as they see it, without the use of video technology. It has created a better flow of the game and some of the best football of the season has followed.
With the finals looming around the corner, is this a positive switch or are the referees prioritising the flow of the game over making correct decisions?
5 Age shall not weary the 300 club
Taking a look at the players that have played 300 games in the NRL will see you come across a gluttony of superstars of our game. A common theme amongst many of those is that they were still at their best, or even a rung above, towards the end of their career.
On Friday night, Gallen celebrated joined the 300 club and put in another behemoth effort. A stocky and short bloke, his attributes are a credit to himself and the work he has endeavoured to put in over the years. He is always a contributor of over 200 metres. A great of our game, congratulations on 300 games Mr Gallen, you deserve it!
6 Suncorp Stadium deserves a Grand Final
The cauldron of rugby league, a ground that creates more animosity than any other, with the fiery Queenslanders doing everything in their power to make it a fortress. On Friday night, every time Gallen and Fifita touched the ball the 37,000 strong crowd booed with great vigour at their distaste for the two New South Welshmen. Players always talk about how Origin games at Suncorp are special. The hype around matches here are aided by the shape of the stadium and the atmosphere it creates.
A packed Suncorp Stadium Grand Final would deliver a grand spectacle for all fans to savour on a dry track. It has to be done!
What were your highlights from the Broncos' big win over the Sharks? Let us know in the comments below.
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