NRL: The big unit Sam Kasiano once again proved he is unstoppable from close range in Bulldogs’ clash with the Broncos.
WAYNE Bennett turned the heat up on Brisbane’s non-Origin players after the Broncos’ season cracked like a Suncorp Stadium wall.
Three days after he punched a hole in a dressing room wall, Bulldogs behemoth David Klemmer led an old-fashioned stampede to again break the Broncos’ hearts at ANZ Stadium with a 40-14 bashing.
It was the first time the Broncos had ventured to the Olympic venue since they were stunned by the Cowboys in last year’s grand final and they will drop out of the top four, although the Eels could be stripped 12 points for salary cap breaches as early as this week.
Brisbane’s Origin stars Corey Parker, Corey Oates, Josh McGuire, Darius Boyd and Matt Gillett backed up after claiming the series but it wasn’t their performances Bennett was critical of as the Broncos slumped to their fifth loss in seven games.
“As I said in the change room at the end of the game, I wasn’t disappointed in the Origin guys,” Bennett said.
“They were tremendous. When they weren’t on the field we realised how much we missed them.
“We lost in that first 10 minutes after half-time. I had my top players on the bench and didn’t really have any alternative.
“They’re backing up from Origin and I can’t justify to myself to absolutely kill them out there when they have to back up again on Friday night.
“There were another 12 players there that didn’t play Origin. It’s the price you pay at this time of the year.”
Origin fever has officially spread through Red Hill like the nasty bout of gastro that struck the Maroons last week. The only problem is this premiership-threatening virus is hanging around.
The Broncos won every game throughout last year’s Origin period which was crucial in their run to the last game in October.
If Bennett wasn’t concerned by Brisbane’s run of close losses, he should be now heading into Friday’s blockbuster against Melbourne at Suncorp Stadium.
Halves Ben Hunt and Anthony Milford are in a playmaking rut and the Broncos are desperate for hooker Andrew McCullough to return from a broken thumb and bring some direction.
“It’s not what we want,” Bennett said of his halves’ form.
“Part of the reason we had such a wonderful season last year was because of their form.
“We made it pretty tough on ourselves in the end.
“There wasn’t much in it in the first half and the second half was a totally different game.
“Maybe it was the halftime talk, I don’t know.”
On a bizarre night in near-freezing conditions, Sam Kasiano soared like Superman to score a remarkable try as the Bulldogs’ big men ran rampant over the lethargic Broncos.
The Broncos lost debutant Tom Opacic to a foot injury after just 20 minutes which thrust Kodi Nikorima into centre and they struggled from that moment.
Branded the best forward in the world by Gorden Tallis, Gillett showed no-one is immune to an Origin hangover when he missed seven tackles in his worst performance of the year.
Oates posted the first points but the tide turned quickly when Tony Williams and Kasiano crossed.
NRL: Brett Morris capped a sensational return to the NRL with a hat-trick for the Bulldogs in their 40-14 win over Brisbane Broncos at ANZ Stadium.
Gillett was again exposed by Moses Mbye, who put a flying Brett Morris over in his first game of the year and Klemmer showed the Broncos how dangerous brute strength can be when he sent Boyd and Adam Blair flying to score between the posts.
James Roberts plucked an 90m intercept but the Bulldogs weren’t finished yet as Mbye pounced on a dreadful pass by Hunt to make Morris the first Canterbury player to score a hat-trick against the Broncos.
Hunt and Milford combined for a fantastic long-range try to bring some respectability to the score but Kasiano rubbed salt into their wounds.
Bennett said Jordan Kahu was a chance of returning from a shoulder injury against the Storm which would be huge boost for the depleted Broncos.