Brisbane Broncos vs Parramatta Eels: Five things we learned

The Broncos celebrated Wayne Bennett's 800th game in style as the Eels sunk to a new low in an 18-10 loss at Suncorp Stadium. Here's what we learned.

While the cloud of Craig Bellamy loomed large over the fixture last night, the Broncos were able to put their dysfunctional 2018 campaign at least temporarily back on track with an 18-10 win at home against a woeful Parramatta Eels outfit.

The Eels had no real answers and were only able to cross the stripe once, courtesy of a 52nd minute George Jennings four-pointer on a night when their season slipped from bad to worse.

It was another strong night for Brisbane rookie Jamayne Isaako though. The winger scored one of only two tries for Brisbane and manage to pilot over four goals from the kicking tee.

  1. 1 The sin bin still in effect

    Don't you love it?

    After a season of 'expert' pundits like Phil Rothfield bemoaning the death of the sin bin and a subsequent loss of control by referees, the men with whistles have hit back and their ruthless crackdown on infringements seems to be claiming a victim or two each week.

    This week, Parramatta centre Michael Jennings spent a quarter of the first half on the sideline after being sent packing and I don't care which team you support, it's bloody good to see the referees swing control of the game back and start cracking down on the petty infringements teams have been getting away with for far too long.

    Rugby league players aren't fast learners, but with the crackdown continuing, they'll eventually get the message and clean up their act, and the game will be better for it.

  2. 2 Simply unable to build pressure

    At one point during the second half, the Eels were handed seven straight penalties by the referees.

    These piggy backs would have given most teams the opportunity to build pressure and begin to crack the opposition defensive structure, especially when the opponent was the Brisbane Broncos who have been found wanting on the fringes of the ruck all season.

    True to form, however, the Eels managed to turn all that possession, field position and pressure into just two points which came in the form of a 65th-minute penalty goal.

    Parramatta's attack was shockingly directionless and, by the end, it looked like they could've set up camp at Suncorp Stadium and not scored before Tuesday next week.

    Mitchell Moses will wear plenty of the blame, and rightly so given how poor he was, but Clint Gutherson certainly did not look like the answer alongside him in the halves.

  3. 3 Big Joe could be on the Queensland Origin radar

    He's an absolute powerhouse of a human being, but could Brisbane's Joe Ofahengaue be ready to make his mark on the State of Origin arena?

    Coach Wayne Bennett was effusive in his praise of the big man, suggesting he was at the "peak of his powers" during his post-match press conference off the back of Ofahengaue's strong effort against the Eels on Thursday night.

    Ofahengaue racked up 38 tackles and ran for 136m, driving the Broncos home against a bad Parramatta side. The performance came just a week after his man of the match effort against the Roosters and helps build a strong pattern of good performances for the Broncos.

    The big forward had been somewhat earmarked as an off-the-bench impact specialist for much of his career, but has taken to the starting side with aplomb over recent weeks, carving out big minutes with no drop if output whatsoever.

    There are plenty of good players to pick from north of the Tweet, but the Maroons could do far worse than Joe Ofahengaue for game one in just a couple of week's time.

  4. 4 Origin injury worries

    Brisbane centre James Roberts had potentially played himself right into contention for a New South Wales Blues jersey with his strong performances over the last few weeks, but as he limped off Suncorp Stadium with concerns over his Achilles tendon, it looked as though his Origin dream may be taken away from him.

    Roberts has been amongst the Broncos best and scored a handy four-pointer in Thursday night's 18-10 win over the Eels before departing the contest with around 20 minutes left on the clock.

    While there are a handful of solid options at centre in contention for a sky blue jumper when the side is named on Monday, Roberts had been expected to be one of the leading preferences of new coach Brad Fittler.

    Wayne Bennett said post-match that Roberts had been struggling with the Achilles since pre-season and should be fine to play Origin.

  5. 5 Beanies for brain cancer back again

    One of the truly great things about rugby league is the way it rallies around a member of the family when they're in trouble and nowhere has this been more evident than the support garnered within the game around Mark Hughes and his Beanies for Brain Cancer initiative.

    The beanies look great and they raise much-needed funds for research, care, and awareness around a horrible, deadly disease.

    You'll see the beanies and caps around the grounds all weekend in much the same way as they were prominent at Suncorp Stadium tonight and if you've got a few spare dollars, I'd urge you to grab one and support a great cause.

    Your scribe managed to needle half a dozen people into getting some with him through the week!

    Grab a beanie here.

    What were your highlights from Brisbane's 18-10 win over the Eels? Let us know in the comments below.

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