A Kurt Capewell field goal sealed a 7-point win for Brisbane tonight at Suncorp Stadium as runners-up South Sydney capitulated on the road tonight.
Named captain for the day with fellow new signing Adam Reynolds sidelined due to COVID protocols, Capewell's 73rd-minute one-pointer secured a victory that will live long in many Brisbane fan's memory.
Denied twice early, the Broncos scored first through Albert Kelly after he picked off a Cody Walker wayward pass, running 80 metres off a superb intercept. Crucially, Jamayne Isaako converted.
The next points came for the Bunnies, Josh Mansour squeezing inside the touch-in-goal line to get the visitors on the board. Jaxson Paulo was unable to convert, so Brisbane took a two-point lead into the sheds at halftime.
Payne Haas was enormous for the Broncos, picking up where he left off from an huge 2021 season for the prop.
His dominance laid the platform for the home team to edge ahead 11 minutes after halftime, Corey Oates scoring in the corner, extending Brisbane's lead to six.
The twenty minutes after followed were a grind, with Souths trying to get back into the contest and Brisbane looking for a way through, each to no avail.
Enter Capewell and his heroics to push the margin to seven and force Souths into two scoring plays to win the game with just seven minutes left.
They did get a penalty goal attempt with three minutes left, but Paulo's attempt went wide and handed Brisbane possession, snuffing out any chance of a Rabbitoh revival.
Souths do have good news on the horizon - they'll welcome back Latrell Mitchell for Thursday's trip to Melbourne to kick off Round 2. Brisbane have an extended layoff, with a Sunday night clash against Canterbury at Accor Stadium. They'll be boosted further by Reynolds' debut NRL appearance for the club as well as the return of Kobe Hetherington.
What they said
New Rabbitohs coach Jason Demetriou was full of praise for his opposition.
"I think Brisbane's last ditch defence was pretty good - we had three or four chances and they kept finding blokes to cover it," he told media post-game.
Equally, he was happy enough with his own side's performance without the ball.
"I was really happy defensively with how we kept turning up. We've just got to bottle that, and sharpen our attack a little bit."
Asked about Reynolds' departure and whether his presence was the missing ingredient, he told the media that was "irrelevant".
Kevin Walters was circumspect - while happy with the victory, acknowledged there's plenty still to work on. Capewell agreed.
"We left a couple of tries out there and I think some of our shape coming out of our own end could be better as well."