A good night for the North Queensland Toyota Cowboys in Townsville, outlasting the Vodafone Warriors...
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Brisbane Broncos - 6th & Preliminary Finalists
Reasons: 56-0: Spurred by their worst ever loss the Broncos regrouped and with the help of fresh troops and determined old heads the Brisbane boys produced a classy seven game winning streak to put themselves into the prelim final. Peter Wallace: The loss of Peter Wallace proved pivotal at Etihad Stadium as Melbourne made short work of the Broncos who were restricted without their represenative halfback. Broncos fans to this day still contemplate what may of followed had Wallace pulled up fit for what many considered the game of the decade. Baby Broncos: The double edge sword that is youth in Rugby League reared it's head through out the Broncos season as the club enjoyed the mixed success that ten debutants can bring to a club. When the season was young, the debutants shone garnering praise through out the Rugby League fraternity but as the halfway point approached the enthusiasm began to slowly fade and without the guidance of experienced players the rookies fell vulnerable to the might of such clubs as Melbourne, Bulldogs, Titans and even a struggling Cronulla outfit. Fortunately as the season drew to a close and the experienced players returned the side began to gel elegantly leaving the rest of the competition in its wake. Defence: For the best part of the noughties the Broncos have struggled with defence in particular around the ruck and subsequently on the fringes. However in 2009 this facet of the club's game was emphasised and abuse through out the season resulting in some disgusting results for the club that prides itself on it's on field image.
Gains: Denan Kemp (Wing) Warriors Tim Natusch (Prop) Newcastle Knights Matt Britt (Prop) Canberra Raiders Rohan Ahern (Second Row) Sydney Roosters Losses: Karmichael Hunt (Fullback) AFL Dave Taylor (Prop) South Sydney Rabbitohs Aaron Gorell (Hooker) Released Tom Hewitt (Wing) Released Palmer Wapau (Second Row) Released Aaron Sweeney (Prop) Released Isaak Ah Mau (Prop) North Queensland Cowboys Will Tupou (Centre) North Queensland Cowboys
Best Win of the Year: In midst of their seven game winning streak the Broncos headed down to WIN stadium to do battle with traditional rivals St. George Illawarra in a significant match that would determine the Broncos fate. Despite winning their past two games, the general train of thought among the NRL consortium of fans was that the Broncos weren't good enough to defeat the minor premiers who had acted as a bogey side for the boys from Red Hill since 2005 with an impressive run of eight victories over their northern counterparts including a comprehensive victory at the start of the year at Suncorp Stadium. While the rest of Sydney were watching the sudden death clash between the Tigers/Eels at the Sydney Football Stadium, the rest of the general public was glued to their screens as they watched the Broncos produce a vintage performance as they frustrated the Dragons out of the contest with a clinical game plan that saw the Broncos convert defence into attack as they restricted the Dragons into their own half of the football field for the majority of the contest before striking through barnstorming forward Dave Taylor who scored a try and set another up for young winger Antonio Winterstein. Worst Loss of the Year: Take your pick, personally speaking I believe the Round 21 clash against Canberra was without a doubt the worst loss for the Broncos in season 2009. On a cold Saturday evening the Canberra Raiders greeted the Broncos at the nations capital with a 56-0 annihilation that would leave co-club founder Paul Morgan rolling in his grave. To put it simply, the Broncos gave up after halftime when the Raiders lead 22-0 following forty minutes of scintillating football. However the misery was far from over for the Broncos as the Raiders exposed them for the losers they had become and destroyed whatever dignity they had left at that point.
Statistics The Brisbane Broncos averaged 38 broken tackles per game, the second highest in season 2009. Brisbane also averaged 41 missed tackles per game, again the highest (or worst) of any team in 2009 The Broncos debuted ten players, just behind the last place Roosters who debuted eleven. Captain Darren Lockyer became the first Broncos player to record 300 games for the club in the NRL.
2009 Headline "Raiders buck Broncos by 56"
Odds to win in 2010 $14.00 (Odds courtesy of Betfair)
Where will they finish next year? Without Karmichael and Big Dave - 8th