BRISBANE 26 GOLD COAST 6
Simply sublime ... Josh Hoffman celebrates as he runs towards the tryline to score a cracking team try. Photo: Getty Images
BRISBANE'S former captain believes they can win a premiership this year. Their current captain doesn't even think they've put together an 80-minute display in 2012.
A rainswept win against a disappointing Gold Coast at Suncorp Stadium last night was the Broncos' sixth consecutive victory in a season that was supposed to be a rebuilding year after the retirement of Darren Lockyer.
In his role as a television commentator, Lockyer told viewers last night: "Last year when I was leader, I thought there was a two- or three-year window for the Broncos to win a title. It might even happen this year - but I still think that window is there."
After a workmanlike victory, Broncos coach Anthony Griffin wasn't interested in talking about windows and premierships. "He might be coming back, is he?" he said when told of Lockyer's comments. "I don't know … I'm not looking at it from a broader term. It's Friday night, round nine or whatever it is, I'm glad we've had a win."
Lockyer's successor, Sam Thaiday, did admit he expected victories to be more scarce in the first third of the regular season after the Australia captain's departure. "I did think it was going to be a lot harder," he said. "Hopefully the good times can keep rolling."
But in same breath, Thaiday insisted his young team was capable of better - much better.
"We're still trying to build to play an 80-minute game," he said, "and we're only getting about 60 minutes out at the moment. We're still waiting to get a brilliant 80-minute performance.
"There's a massive amount of improvement. We work hard every week at training. We're yet to reach perfection - it's a very hard thing to get to but I'm sure if we keep working at it, stay tight as a team … there'll be a game where we can play a brilliant 80 minutes of football."
Gold Coast looked like putting up a good fight during the willing early exchanges, the first of the two tries scored by second-rower Alex Glenn coming on the back of a kick by NSW Origin hopeful Peter Wallace and a favourable decision by video referee Pat Reynolds.
But the Titans soon fell into disarray and this was not the marquee derby clash we have come to expect from these clubs.
A Gold Coast error immediately preceded Glenn's second try, after an assist from the impressive Corey Norman, in the 15th minute. Broncos hooker Andrew McCullough diving over from dummy-half eight minutes later was as elementary as it gets.
One of the Titans' best, Nate Myles, collected the knee of Justin Hodges - which was to figure again later - in the 37th minute and the pause in play allowed Brisbane to set themselves for another try, scored by New Zealand international Gerard Beale, to bring up a 20-0 half-time scoreline.
Gold Coast's Jamal Idris got himself more involved after the break and in teeming rain, the visitors went from one end to the other before centre Dominique Peyroux scored a 51st-minute try off Scott Prince's pass.
Things then got bogged down - including Hodges's knee which appeared to buckle but in fact had only hyper-extended. "He would have made four line breaks if he'd stopped slipping over," Griffin said.
Josh Hoffman was given a forward tap-on by Norman for his 70th-minute try but the match officials missed it. And Reynolds chalked off what would have been a consolation try to Titan Luke Douglas.
"If I was allowed to bet," said beleaguered Gold Coast coach John Cartwright, "I'd have backed our try to be allowed and theirs to be disallowed. That happens on nights like this."
BRISBANE 26 (A Glenn 2 A McCullough J Hoffman G Beale tries C Parker 3 goals) bt GOLD COAST 6 (D Peyroux try S Prince goal) at Suncorp Stadium. Referees: A Devcich, J Maxwell. Crowd: 30,083.