Kotoni Staggs of the Broncos (left) and Luke Garner of the Tigers. Picture: AAP Image/Dave Hunt
Kotoni Staggs of the Broncos (left) and Luke Garner of the Tigers. Picture: AAP Image/Dave Hunt

Broncos cop more Thursday night heartbreak

The Broncos buckled to the power and professionalism of the Wests Tigers to suffer a heartbreaking loss which the history books says rules them out of top-four contention.

A moment of inspired running by Tigers backrower Michael Chee Kam, replacing concussed Robert Jennings at left centre, sentenced the Broncos to a 22-16 loss with a try 1min20sec from fulltime.

The Broncos slump to a 1-4 win-loss record and three of their predecessor teams have started as badly, but the best those teams could manage was eighth place and a short involvement in the finals.

Given a chance to set up for a field goal shot with five minutes left and the scores 16-all, Brisbane were guilty of a terrible, disorganised set, including two bounce passes with no one able to assert the discipline needed.

It will increase debate over whether Anthony Milford and Kodi Nikorima are the playmakers to turn around Brisbane's wretched start to the season.

"There was one set when it wasn't good enough, we were really clunky,'' Seibold said.

"That's not a combination thing. Milf is our organiser. We weren't happy about that chance to go down and ice the game.

"We will go back to work tomorrow. We lost two games here in the last minute. We don't feel sorry for ourselves - we will go back to work.

Tigers players react after winning the match. Picture: AAP Image/Dave Hunt
Tigers players react after winning the match. Picture: AAP Image/Dave Hunt

"There's been a whole heap of crap about culture through the week. I was really pleased with their effort - they showed plenty of heart. The execution, we will fix up.

"For Payne Haas to play the way he did, as a 19-year-old in his first starting game was great, but it's what we expected of him.''

The Tigers did not get a shot away with two later chances, but Chee Kam tidied up a botched field-goal set-up, slicing through a distracted Brisbane defensive line and rounding fullback Darius Boyd.

It inflicted a second late loss in Anthony Seibold's unhappy first five games as Broncos coach.

"I didn't know what to do. I saw a little gap open,'' Chee Kam said.

Brisbane face another week of intense scrutiny over the direction of the club leading into a difficult away match against Canberra next Sunday.

To make matters worse, one of the most experienced Broncos, Matt Gillett, did not come back for the second half after failing a head injury assessment, suffering reportedly from blurred vision.

Payne Haas was a froce for the Broncos all night. Picture: AAP Image/Dave Hunt
Payne Haas was a froce for the Broncos all night. Picture: AAP Image/Dave Hunt

Broncos premiership players Gorden Tallis and Justin Hodges had roasted some of the Brisbane players for their efforts in the 36-4 thumping by Sydney Roosters last Thursday and also made plain their preference that former teammate Kevin Walters had received the coaching role which went to Seibold in December.

"It was a better effort,'' Tallis said last night on Fox League.

"The older guys are talking about it because they got rid of probably the greatest coach in history (Wayne Bennett).''

The loss came despite a vigourous second coming from boom prop Payne Haas in his first game of the year.

Kodi Nikorima breaks away from the defence. Picture: Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images
Kodi Nikorima breaks away from the defence. Picture: Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images

 

Nikorima's running game had pulled the game out of the fire when his team was looking for answers, trailing 16-8 with 15 minutes remaining.

The Kiwi halfback accelerated to beat two tacklers and received a return ball from David Fifita to get the Broncos to within two points.

The game was levelled with 12 minutes remaining with a Jamayne Isaako goal when the Tigers were penalised for offside.

 

Luke Brooks runs away from Matt Lodge. Picture: Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images
Luke Brooks runs away from Matt Lodge. Picture: Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images

 

 

A second try from a bomb, scored by interchange player Matt Eisenhuth, put the Tigers ahead 14-8 after they had trailed by eight points after 37 minutes.

The Broncos conceded two more tries this season to kicks towards their left flank, with centre Kotoni Staggs outleapt for the first Tigers try by replacement centre.

Isaako again culpable for a try when he could not claim Josh Reynolds's bomb, trying unsuccessfully to slap the ball out of the hands of his opposite number.

The Broncos were put off track in the second half by the professionalism of the Tigers kickers, backed by the enthusiastic teammates.

In the first 20 minutes of the second half, Robbie Farah, Luke Brooks and Josh Reynolds each gained dropouts for their team with canny grubbers, backed by an enthusiastic chase.

After the third, Isaako, resorting to a short dropout, kicked the ball 3m over the sideline and the Tigers extended their lead to 16-8.