Instead, another fade-out. The Raiders clicked into gear and the Broncos couldn’t go with them. Different coach, same result. If the Bulldogs knock over the Wests Tigers on Sunday, Brisbane will be in spoon position. Darius Boyd’s 200th game for the club will be one he won’t soon forget, for all the wrong reasons.
“When we make an error, we need to learn how to defend it,” Gentle said.
‘As soon as that little bit of adversity goes against us, we fall apart.’
“That’s NRL standard, you have to defend our errors. At the moment, for one reason or another, we’re not defending like we did in the first half.
“As soon as that little bit of adversity goes against us, we fall apart and it becomes every man for himself … it’s been happening all year.”
Their season can’t end soon enough. They will have to finish it without Jake Turpin, who was forced from the field due to a broken hand. The hooker will join an injury ward that already includes Xavier Coates, Alex Glenn, Anthony Milford, Corey Oates, Jordan Kahu, Sean O’Sullivan, Keenan Palasia, Jack Bird and Lodge.
The visitors should have enjoyed a much larger advantage than two points at half-time. They scored two tries to one, had 67 per cent of possession and didn’t let the Raiders touch the Steeden at all for an entire 10-minute period.
Payne Haas took it upon himself to turn Brisbane’s fortunes around. The powerhouse prop made 148 metres from 16 runs, as well as three offloads, including a sublime flick-pass that set up the opening try. And they were just his half-time stats.
His teammates couldn’t follow his lead upon the resumption. Even Haas’ night finished on a sour note, put on report late for a crusher tackle.
The Green Machine ran in five unanswered tries in the second stanza, marking the fifth straight week that Brisbane were held scoreless in the final quarter.
Ricky Stuart would have been frustrated with the early football his side produced. Normally they are within earshot during the run of play, but a back issue forced him to watch from the stands rather than his customary position on the sideline. Still, he was closer to the action than Seibold. Significantly, his Raiders side now has a share of fourth spot after winning four of the past five.
“Ricky sends his apologies, he’s got an acute back injury at the moment,” said Raiders assistant Andrew McFadden, who stepped in for the post-match press conference.
“He’s been bitching and moaning all week, so I thought I’d give him a bit of a break.”
Raiders halfback George Williams and back-rower John Bateman each scored a try and set up several others. Nick Cotric bagged two of his own.
It’s often said that rugby league is a simple game played by simple men, but at times those at GIO Stadium weren’t au fait with the rules. Boyd had to explain to Jesse Arthurs an alternate way to earn possession after the winger let a high ball bounce perilously close to the sidelines. And there was mass confusion when the bunker found an infringement via a captain’s challenge, only to realise they didn’t have the jurisdiction to rule on it. It was all academic.
Finally, a nightmare week for the Broncos mercifully comes to an end. So now we wait to see what more could possibly go wrong.
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Adrian Proszenko is the Chief Rugby League Reporter for the Sydney Morning Herald.