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Top reno job pays off for booming Broncos

Workhorse: Josh McGuire was a handful for the Sea Eagles defence on Sunday.

Workhorse: Josh McGuire was a handful for the Sea Eagles defence on Sunday. Photo: Getty Images

Brisbane were very impressive on Sunday afternoon in their big win over Manly. The final score of 36-10 was a fair indication of their dominance in all aspects.

Granted, the Sea Eagles were missing key players through injury, however, there can be no denying this Broncos side is developing into a serious football team. I’ve been watching the Broncos with great interest over the past couple of years as they have rejuvenated their playing roster and virtually renovated their rugby league administration.

Management has ignored all the pressures and criticisms as they have diligently gone about the work of building a new club for the future. The green shoots are really starting to poke through the surface and I think we could be witnessing the emergence of the next great Broncos era.

The roster has a nice blend of experience and youth. Coach Anthony Griffin has them playing with confidence and cohesion. I liked what I saw on Sunday, even allowing for the fact their opponents were below their best. The Broncos forwards were dynamic. Their opening gambit was aggressive and full of intent. They completely owned the advantage line with powerful surges that bent their opponents backwards on every play.

Front-rower Josh McGuire was outstanding. He’s a real workhorse. Corey Parker and Matt Gillett were backing up from Wednesday night’s Origin gut-buster, but showed courage and class with brilliant displays. The star of the show for mine was emerging young halfback Ben Hunt. He is a beauty. The more I see of him the more I am impressed.

He still has some rough edges to his game, but these will be smoothed out with the benefit of time and experience in the middle. For the time being though, he does a lot of things really well and I’m convinced he is a long-term keeper for the club.

Hunt has excellent vision, the most important ingredient for an aspiring playmaker. He also has great awareness. By this I mean he can ‘‘feel’’ a defensive line rather than just looking at them. As he moves with the ball he can sense if defenders want him or they’re focusing on ball-runners around him.

In a split second Hunt can pass long or short, dummy and run or kick to an outside man in the clear. These instincts can’t be taught or learnt. You either have them or you don’t.

Plenty of young playmakers have the kicking and passing skills, but it’s the ‘‘touch’’ that players like Hunt possesses that tends to separate the good from the great.

Hunt was a star coming through the junior development competitions. I dare say we will be speaking about him in similar tones as he slowly builds his NRL career.

He toyed with the Sea Eagles defence on Sunday. Playing behind a dominant forward pack, Hunt tormented his rivals in a man-of-the-match performance.

The Sea Eagles? I don’t know about this performance. Let’s cut them some slack because they were missing the likes of Daly Cherry-Evans, Anthony Watmough and Glenn Stewart. Take three players of this class out of any line-up and they will struggle.

But there was just something different about the Manly team that didn’t look right. I’ve come to expect grit, determination and a fighting spirit from this side. I didn’t see that in this match. They looked well beaten a long way from the finish line and only offered brief moments of resistance as the game slipped away from them.

All teams are entitled to an off day; but Manly never seem to fall back into this kind of malaise. Normally, win, lose or draw, they make life very difficult for their opponents. That didn’t happen on Sunday. There was an uncharacteristic resignation about their loss.

But let’s not panic or jump to unnecessary conclusions. Let’s wait and see how they bounce back when they are closer to full strength. They are well placed on the premiership ladder and if they can survive the Origin period, they still have the talent to make a real impact in the run to the finals.

On Sunday though, all honours went to the home side. They turned it on for the local fans and signalled themselves as a team very much on the rise.

Twitter @gusgould91
 

1 comment so far

  • The same article could be written about the Panthers, Mr Gould?

    Commenter
    mutt
    Date and time
    June 02, 2014, 5:51AM

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