Broncos loss to Wolves a first for NRL sides
THE Broncos have become the first NRL side to lose a World Club Series match, after a shocking display in Warrington this morning.
Despite playing with a near full-strength side, Brisbane was humiliated at Halliwell Jones Stadium as they fell 27-18 to the Wolves.
It was the first time an NRL side has lost a World Club Series match, following the introduction of the concept in 2015.
In all six previous matches, the Australian team has come away victorious.
Brisbane's loss is also the first by any NRL side in a World Club clash since Manly lost their Challenge to Leeds in 2012.
Veteran forward Sam Thaiday was adamant that the long trip was still a positive, claiming the Broncos will have taken some vital lessons from the clash.
"We've got a few things we need to fix leading into Round 1 but we'll go back to Australia a lot better that we had the run over here," he said.
"Who knows where Wayne will go with his 17 come Round 1 but we're going to be a lot better because of the game we played against Warrington.
"They rattled our cages a little and put us off our game."
Thaiday was one of Brisbane's better performers in Warrington, but conceded the side as a whole was ill-disciplined.
"That's where we let ourselves down the most is silly attacking errors and poor defensive errors as well," he said.
"We were giving them penalties, letting them march down the field and giving them attacking sets against our line. It was just hard to defend all night."
Coach Wayne Bennett will be hoping that the loss will have helped Brisbane shake out the cobwebs before the start of the NRL season after an error-riddled performance.
The Broncos went over to the UK without their expected starting front rowers Korbin Sims and Adam Blair - as well as usual bench utility Kodi Nikorima - but otherwise had a full strength side.
While Joe Ofahengaue and Herman Ese'ese started in their place, the duo cannot be solely blamed for the loss, with mistakes coming from across the park.
It was a worrying start to the year for the Broncos, who will come up against the reigning premiers Cronulla in Round 1 before meeting the Cowboys the following week.
Star five-eighth Anthony Milford was quiet throughout most of the match while halfback Ben Hunt struggled with his kicking game.
Brisbane's pack also did little to help their side overcome Warrington's momentum, with Tevita Pangai Jnr making the biggest impact as the young forwards fought it out for two bench spots for the season ahead.
Warrington stamped their authority on the game in the second minute of the first half, with Brisbane struggling to dominate from there.
Frustrations boiled over in the second half of the match, with two fights breaking out, which did little to help the Broncos.
Perhaps the most promising sign however was the growing combination of James Roberts and David Mead on the right edge, with both contributing to the scoreboard.
While the duo made their own mistakes throughout - and Roberts demonstrated a hot head during one of the fights - they provided some spark to Brisbane's attack when it was needed most.
The club will head back to Australia on Sunday night and will have just over one week to turn their fortunes around before the season opener on March 2.
WARRINGTON WOLVES 27 (Kevin Brown, Ryan Atkins, Matthew Russell, Tom Lineham tries; Declan Patton 5 goals; Declan Patton field goal) defeated BRISBANE BRONCOS 18 (Corey Oates, James Roberts, David Mead tries; Jordan Kahu 3 goals)