The Brisbane Broncos have had yet another second half fade out in a 24-16 loss to Parramatta but this time, it wasn’t through lack of effort.
After a season where the Broncos were accused of a lack of effort as the club finished with its first wooden spoon, signs were looking like it was a very different Broncos as they ran out to a 16-0 lead at halftime.
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But while the Broncos were looking exceptional in the first half under new coach Kevin Walters — and Parramatta looked equally bad — injuries have left the Broncos in trouble after losing three players.
It started when the Broncos scored their second try through Xavier Coates.
As the play went wide, prop Matt Lodge signalled for the sideline with a hamstring injury.
He was soon ruled out of the game and was followed by Coates.
The 20-year-old winger scored his second try but landed awkwardly on his neck and head and was taken to hospital.
Early in the second half, he was followed by new forward John Asiata, who slumped to the ground clutching his neck.
The Broncos were cut down by injuries.Source:Getty Images
The Courier Mail’s Travis Meyn revealed that “John Asiata has been wearing a Brent Tate style neck guard at training because of persistent problems with “burners” in his neck/shoulder. Not good.”
Asiata’s had nerve issues with his neck during the preseason. Hopefully its related to that and nothing more serious. #NRL
But the Eels came back quickly, scoring three tries in 11 minutes to hit the lead.
The Broncos were even unlucky as Jake Turpin was denied by the bunker for a knock on
The game was so tight from there, with the Eels try in the 78th minute finally wrapping up the game.
The players were exhausted at the end of the game after a crazy finish.
But the fans were loving what they saw as the game was played at a breakneck speed.
Gotta admit, it’s a breathtaking spectacle, isn’t it. It’s a 1980s game on x3 fast forward with all the stoppages taken out. Bravo. #NRLbripar
This game is WILD #nrlbroncoseels
THIS IS SERIOUSLY A MAGNIFICENT GAME OF RUGBY LEAGUE #NRLBroncosEels
Walters said the injuries were “not ideal” but that the side “need to learn to play with adversity”.
Eels coach Brad Arthur said the first half was a sign they “didn’t respect the opposition or ourselves”.
Greg Alexander said the Broncos could still be proud of what they put out there.
“Courageous effort from the Broncos, they lost players but in the end I thought they had no energy because of the possession that swung around Parramatta’s way in the second half,” he said. “The Broncos were out on their feet and I thought they did well to hold them to 24-16.”
In the first half, the Broncos had 60 per cent of possession with an 87 per cent completion rate to the Eels’ 53 per cent, but by full-time, it had swung with the Eels finishing with 51 per cent completion.
The Broncos were riding high after the first half.Source:Getty Images
Anasta added “Kevvie should be proud of his players. He wanted to see that fighting Broncos spirit and they definitely showed that tonight. They were in it to the very end and they probably shouldn’t have been.”
While the Broncos fans wouldn’t be liking the loss, there was plenty to enjoy from the club as they look to bounce back under Walters.
“Great start, great for Kevvie Walters,” Greg Alexander told Fox League.
“Nearly had the perfect half, really,” Mal Meninga said.
Fans were also quick to jump on board.
Brisbane can be proud of their performance. Injuries unfortunately derailed their evening.
Will be better for the run.#NRLBroncosEels#NRL
Statue of Kevvie being unveiled in the halftime break outside Suncorp #NRLBroncosEels
I think Bronco has been good. Big improvement on last year. https://t.co/DLusYujz4G
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