The Brisbane Broncos have begun the post-Anthony Seibold era on a humiliating note with a 58-12 thumping at the hands of the Sydney Roosters at the SCG.
- The Broncos were playing their first match since Anthony Seibold stepped down as coach
- Sitili Tupouniua and Josh Morris both scored doubles as part of the Roosters’ 10-try haul
- The Titans scored two tries inside the final five minutes to claim a 14-10 win over the Dragons
Playing two days after Seibold officially stepped down as coach, the Broncos conceded 10 tries as the Roosters racked up a combined 117 points from their two meetings this season.
The defending premiers had beaten the Broncos 59-0 when they played each other in Brisbane in June.
The Broncos now hold an embarrassing 3-13 win-loss record to be placed second last on the ladder.
Earlier in the evening, Gold Coast cruelled St George Illawarra’s faint hopes of playing NRL finals this season by springing a late comeback to win 14-10 in Kogarah.
At the SCG, Sitili Tupouniua and Josh Morris scored doubles for the Roosters, while James Tedesco scored one and had a hand in five others.
The Roosters still looked a fair way from their best at times, as they inched one step closer to wrapping up a top-four spot.
They will have Sonny Bill Williams next week, with Luke Keary and Angus Crichton also set to return for the upcoming blockbuster against Canberra.
The Broncos were outclassed, suggesting Seibold’s exit may not fix their problems any time soon as they edged closer to a maiden wooden spoon.
They missed 23 tackles in the first half alone and Joe Ofahengaue was put on report for dropping his knee on the head of an already concussed Jake Friend.
Ofahengaue then gave away another penalty on the next play, before making a simple miss on Isaac Liu to let him score under the post immediately after.
The missed tackle summed up the night in defence for the Broncos.
Tupouniua’s first try came off a nice short ball from Tedesco, as he hit and bounced through Patrick Carrigan from close distance.
His second was far softer on the same right edge.
Running a hard line, David Fifita barely got a hand on the Roosters second rower, while Darius Boyd watched him run right past.
But that should not take anything away from Tupouniua’s performance.
In easily his best match in Roosters colours, he shrugged off Sean O’Sullivan and got a ball back inside to Kyle Flanagan in the lead-up to another try.
Flanagan raced down field and put Tedesco over, with the fullback scoring his first try in 10 weeks for the two-time defending premiers.
And when most teams would have pulled up after half-time, three of the Tricolours’ six tries following the break came from long range.
Josh Morris had a hand in all three tries, scoring the first, creating the second for Daniel Tupou and putting on a fend and ball to start the third for Nat Butcher.
Again, Butcher ran through two Broncos then put a step on the retiring Boyd at the back in another sign this season cannot end soon enough for him and Brisbane.
Their only real highlight for the Broncos came in the form of a 70-metre effort from Kotoni Staggs, while Fifita also ran through three defenders to score in the second half.
Titans leave it late to seal win
The Dragons led 8-0 just after half-time, but the Titans scored three unanswered tries — including two in the final five minutes — to steal an away win.
New South Wales State of Origin representative Tyrone Peachey was on the spot to collect a rebounded kick off the upright to level the scores at 10-all in the 76th minute.
Barely a minute later Titans halfback Jamal Fogarty raced through broken play to score, sealing the club’s first win in three weeks.
It was a costly result for the Dragons, as a win would have placed them ninth on the ladder, just two points out of the top eight.
Instead, they are in 10th place with four rounds remaining in the minor premiership.
The Titans showed not only defensive resilience but marked improvement in attack to score their fifth win of the season under first-year coach Justin Holbrook.
It was a dour first half as the Titans’ defence on their line held firm under attack from the Dragons, who went into the break with a 2-0 lead.
The Dragons emerged with more energy in the second half and finally converted field position to points seven minutes later.
Ben Hunt’s crafty work around dummy half put Jacob Host over from short range to go up 8-0, before the Titans struck back almost immediately, starting the comeback.
Dragons winger Mikaele Ravalawa’s poor read in defence was quickly exposed when Titans second rower Beau Fermor shot a ball out to Phillip Sami to score.
Titans forward Jaimin Jollife could be in trouble for a high shot on Tyson Frizell in the first half when he caught the New South Wales State of Origin forward around the chin.
The Dragons will also be sweating on the charge sheet, with centre Zac Lomax put on report for a dangerous tackle in the second half.