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Broncos fight back to down Eels

Brisbane scored three unanswered tries in the second half to begin the post-Darren Lockyer era with a 18-6 victory over the Eels at Parramatta Stadium on Friday night.
Broncos fight back to down Eels
by NRL

Brisbane scored three unanswered tries in the second half to begin the post-Darren Lockyer era with a 18-6 victory over the Eels at Parramatta Stadium on Friday night.

Parramatta and new half-back Chris Sandow got off to a dream start when a Gerard Beale mistake at the back gifted the new Eels number seven an easy try after just four minutes.

But it was mostly the Broncos after that, the visitors applying consistent pressure in heavy rain but unable to make Parramatta pay for a slew of handling errors.

Brisbane, guilty of plenty of mistakes itself, finally found its attacking rhythm after the break, with winger Jharal Yow Yeh, half-back Peter Wallace and prop Ben Hannant crossing in the space of 20 minutes to seal a hard-earned win.

To compound a miserable evening for the home side, debutant five-eighth Ben Roberts limped off with a quad strain midway through the second half.

"We did what we had to do defensively. Offensively, in that first half in particular, we were a little bit too impatient and out of rhythm," Broncos coach Anthony told Grandstand.

"I thought we were a bit too tense and trying to turn a too many half chances into points in those conditions against a side like Parramatta, who were defending very well on their home ground.

"We just had to be prepared to build before the points came and in the second half I think we did that."

Griffin described new five-eighth Corey Norman's performance as solid while captain Sam Thaiday said the young number six has great potential.

"He played better as the game went on. He certainly has the skills he just needs the guts and he'll go a long way," Thaiday said.

Eels coach Stephen Kearney took the positives out of the performance but knew there was work to do.

"I thought our attack was a little bit pedestrian in the second half," he said.

"I think having two new halves and then losing another half just after half-time, and given the conditions, it makes it hard when you are trying to build a bit of momentum in attack."

Scrappy affair

The Eels were deprived of the services of star full-back Jarryd Hayne, who failed a fitness test on his injured knee, but got off to a flying start when big-money off-season signing Sandow made an instant impression.

The former South Sydney half-back's first major contribution in the blue and gold was to grubber a kick across the greasy surface and he pounced quickest to score after Beale fumbled close to the tryline.

However, like so often was the case last season, poor discipline proved to be the Eels' downfall, with referees Shayne Hayne and Gavin Morris penalising them eight times in the first half alone.

The Broncos finished the first half deep in Eels territory, but Stephen Kearney's side showed tremendous character in defence with young backs Ken Sio, Ryan Morgan, Cheyse Blair and Esi Tonga belying their tender years to repel the visitors.

The Broncos were much improved in the second half as the Eels were forced onto the back foot with Sandow unable to exert any influence in attack.

A knock-on under the high ball from Sio presented the Broncos with the ball in great field position and they spread the play wide to the right through Wallace and Justin Hodges, who teed-up Yow Yeh to score in the corner.

That try appeared to knock the stuffing out of the Eels and it was no surprise when Anthony Griffin's side added another four-pointer on the hour when Wallace's grubber bounced awkwardly in the in-goal area and he pounced as the Eels' defence hesitated.

With the Broncos now firmly in control, Parramatta looked bereft of ideas in attack as the Queenslanders began to dominate.

Lockyer's successor, Norman, began to find his feet and he played a major role in Hannant's late try, starting the move that saw the former Canterbury prop bulldoze his way over the line.

Brisbane: 18 (B Hannant, P Wallace, J Yow Yeh tries; C Parker 3 goals)

Eels: 6 (C Sandow try; L Burt goal)

Source: ABC Sport

Click here for audio interviews and other related links

Interviews with Anthony Griffin, Stephen Kearney and Sam Thaiday.


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