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Brisbane have got off to flyer in 2020, after defeating the South Sydney Rabbitohs 22-18 at an eerily empty Suncorp Stadium tonight.
Broncos strike centre Kotoni Staggs was the hero, scoring a hat-trick in a devastating performance from a player who has recently been seen as the next big thing in the famous #3 jersey moving forward at Red Hill.
While it is a very stacked NSW side in 2020 to break into for outside backs, Staggs continues to push his name forward as he put in an elite performance in a big game against one of the competition heavyweights in what was an eye-catching performance from the Wellington junior.
The win sees coach Anthony Seibold finally get the jump on his legendary predecessor at the club and rival coach in Wayne Bennett since the duo famously swapped clubs, however the win has been somewhat dampened by injuries to major off season signing Brodie Croft with a shoulder injury early in the match, followed by what may also be a worrying rib injury to Queensland winger Corey Oates late in the contest.
It was built as a real grudge back between the two coaches, it was Anthony Seibold's side that got the momentum early, when new Broncos half, Brodie Croft gave his blockbusting centre Staggs some early ball off a scrum play and Staggs muscled over for the first try of the night.
Despite Jamayne Isaako failing to convert Staggs' first try, he delivered minutes later, when he found the explosive Anthony Milford off an inside ball. Milford then found himself in the clear, skipping forwards and then backwards to shrug away from would be defenders, before slamming the ball down to give his side the lead after just a quarter of the game. The Broncos then extended the score to 10-0 following a cheap penalty from Souths prop Junior Tatola, which Isaako duly converted.
Brisbane continued to dominate throughout the half before the Rabbitohs sprung to life late, with Souths winger Campbell Graham latching onto a superb pass from Cody Walker to get his side on the board, trailing 10-4 as the half neared to a close.
Souths continued to change the momentum, when former Bronco James Roberts then exploded onto a ball from a Souths scrum play to find Cody Walker who scored a crucial try just before halftime. Adam Reynolds then converted the Roberts try, followed quickly by a late penalty and the Bunnies held an unlikely 12-10 lead at the break.
Broncos centre Kotoni Staggs then put his stamp on the match with two successive tries to turn the game on its head, and give his side a commanding 22-12 lead.
Souths' interchange handyman Alex Johnson then scored what proved to be a late consolation try when he collected a re-bound from his own kick to score and give his side a late chance.
It wasn't to be however, with the Broncos remaining undefeated after the first 2 rounds of the season and give them tremendous confidence early in the 2020 season
Brisbane now face the Titans in Round 3 in the local South Queensland derby, while the Rabbitohs now face their bitter rivals and defending premiers the Roosters next Friday night.
Brisbane Broncos 22 - South Sydney Rabbitohs 18
Venue: Suncorp Stadium
Halftime Score: Brisbane Broncos 10 South Sydney Rabbitohs 12
LeagueUnlimited.com Players of the Match:
3 points - Kotoni Staggs
2 points - Anthony Milford
1 points - Thomas Flegler
BRISBANE BRONCOS (22)
Tries: Kotoni Staggs (3), Anthony Milford
Conversions: Jamayne Isaako (2/4)
Penalty Goals: Jamayne Isaako (1/1)
SOUTH SYDNEY RABBITOHS (18)
Tries: Campbell Graham, Cody Walker, Alex Johnston
Conversions: Adam Reynolds (2/3)
Penalty Goals: Adam Reynolds (1/1)