Brisbane Broncos produced a fabulous effort to win 36-14 against fellow top four challengers Parramatta Eels to kick off the round at Western Sydney Stadium on Thursday night.
The Broncos were in scintillating form with a six tries to three win which has launched the side into the top four ahead of the Melbourne Storm in another masterful display from off-season recruit Adam Reynolds.
After they conceded the first try to Eels winger Maiko Sivo, the Broncos put on a 15 minute passage of play where they scored three times and took the game by the scruff of the neck in the wet. Corey Oates started the run with a soccer-style effort from Brenko Lee in the set up.
Next, it was a simple run from Payne Haas through some flimsy Eels defence which saw him touch down. Adam Reynolds got himself involved with a low kick that was pounced upon by Jordan Rikki, making it 18-4.
Broncos built on their advantage in the 33rd minute. Ezra Mam with the lovely slight of hand pass to a charging Kurt Capewell to stretch the advantage to 20-4. Eels did pull one back through Waqa Blake on half-time to get within two scores.
Parramatta Eels have shown at times this year they can pile on points and that they can implode with the best of them. Dropping the kick-off to second half which led to Oates second try of the evening fell into the latter category.
Western Sydney stadium has become Sivo's playground. The Fijian winger has become a fixture on the try-scorers list for the Eels and added another to his total with quick hands down the left to make it 30-14 and sniff a comeback.
The Eels did start to gather some possession and thought they might have further reduced the advantage when Blake crossed for his second. It was sent to the bunker for review and chalked off for obstruction on a downbeat night for the blue-and-gold.
That was on display in the Broncos final four-pointer of the night. Clint Gutherson tried to create something from his own end, spills the ball into the path of Reynolds who toed ahead for himself and complete the 36-14 score line.
For the Broncos, they move into the top four and the vibes around Red Hill have been immaculate in 2022. Similar to a time 16 years ago when they won their last Premiership? they sit in fourth and in a prime spot to make a charge at the title this season.
Moving onto the Eels. How do you solve a riddle like the Parramatta Eels? Some weeks, they look like world beaters then sometimes it looks like they have never played rugby league before in their life? It doesn't get easier with a game against Western Sydney rivals Penrith next week.