After the 2016 NRL season got underway with the Broncos downing the Eels 17-4, kiwileaguecentral.com’s Christopher Reive shares what he learned from the Round 1 clash.
Even the professionals get nervous
There were a lot of big signings debuting for their new clubs in this game – Michael Jennings, James Roberts and so on. While we might have been expecting early season fireworks, we got the complete opposite.
In the first half alone there were nine errors, while two of the best kickers in the game combined for 1/4 off the tee.
Although there were only seven penalties through the 80 minutes, we saw 24 errors in total at a breakdown of 12 apiece.
With round one done and dusted I expect the cobwebs to be brushed off and some more fluid play through Round 2.
Parramatta needs to address that right-side defence
All three Brisbane tries were scored on the side defended by Clinton Gutherson and Brad Takairangi and two of them were the result of the edge defenders being caught out of position.
Yes, we’re 80 minutes into the season and there’s plenty of time to sort this kind of thing out, but Takairangi has a less-than-ideal tendency to charge up out of the line. This leaves his winger with two choices to either charge up too, or stick in position and get caught in no man’s land – either way you’re outnumbered.
While gunning out of the line and making an earth-shattering hit or taking an intercept looks impressive, the challenge for the right edge will be to pick their spots.
Corey Oates could be a low-key weapon
The big Bronco must be a horror match-up for most wingers in the game with 106kgs charging at you like a bull.
While in past years his ability to play in the second-row and on the wing had him stuck on the bench, he’s been given his shot in the starting side in 2016 and he revelled in it on Thursday night.
Three line-breaks, a try, 203 run meters, an assist and he didn’t miss a tackle.
If he can keep this level of play up, he will be a vital piece of the Broncos’ grand final charge.
Reduced rest shows
Sure, the interchange was only reduced by two, but that makes a big difference when you’ve got to carry around over 100kgs and make 30+ tackles and charge the line hard on the offensive.
Forwards can expect their engines to be heavily tested this year.
Christopher Reive is a journalist and life-long rugby league tragic.