A knee injury to captain Alex Glenn has soured Brisbane’s drought-breaking 26-8 NRL win over last-placed Canterbury at Suncorp Stadium.
It wasn’t pretty on Saturday evening but the Broncos finally snapped their six-game losing streak, notching their first win since March 20 and ending an agonising 113-day wait for long-suffering fans.
Motivated by the thought that yet another loss would relegate them to last on the table, the Broncos did enough in a clanger-fuelled clash in front of 7134 fans.
Glenn limped off in the 54th minute with a suspected medial ligament injury after an ugly tackle by Bulldogs centre Reimis Smith.
He was placed on report for a cannonball tackle after spearing into the former Kiwi international’s leg as the third man in.
In a match, billed as a battle for the wooden spoon, Brisbane – sitting 15th on the ladder – took on the bottom-placed Bulldogs and it showed in an error-riddled affair.
At times, the teams didn’t look like they knew how to play, let alone win, with the clash sometimes farcical due to the amount of dropped ball.
In the end, inspirational prop Tevita Pangai and five-eighth Anthony Milford’s kicking game proved the difference as the Bulldogs suffered their fifth-straight loss.
Canterbury (1-8 record) have slumped to their worst start to a season since 1964 after losing five in a row for the first time in 10 years.
Brisbane hung on to lead 10-4 at halftime before giving themselves some breathing space when winger Jamayne Isaako pounced on Milford’s pinpoint 40m kick in the 44th minute and Xavier Coates crashed over 15 minutes later.
Isaako nabbed his double in the 77th minute after Pangai somehow offloaded to the winger before being muscled into touch.
It is the first time Brisbane have scored 20 or more points in a match since the NRL’s resumption.
A revitalised Brisbane were tipped to run out on Saturday after under-fire coach Anthony Seibold allowed player-driven changes this week.
Team golf days and optional training sessions were introduced to try to help players to rediscover their love of the game.
And the Broncos exploded out of the blocks via a fired-up Pangai with winger turned back-rower Corey Oates crashing over in the eighth minute.
The Broncos made it 10-0 when Pangai scored in the 16th minute after pouncing on a ball dropped by Aiden Tolman.
He had a running battle with Pangai which escalated into heated scenes after the St Helens’ premiership winner was placed on report in the 37th minute for a shoulder charge on the Tongan international.
Brisbane’s Oates also went on report for a high shot on Marcelo Montoya in the 27th minute.
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