Five things we learned from Eels v Broncos

Five things we learned from Eels v Broncos Written by TOM SMITH, March 3, 2016

THE Brisbane Broncos ground to a 17-4 victory over the Parramatta Eels in front of 17,324 fans at Pirtek Stadium at the 2016 season opener — and here are five things RLW learned . . .

1. If you thought Ben Hunt and Anthony Milford were hot in 2015, the Broncos halves look like they’re about to explode in 2016. Anyone with a skerrick of doubt as to why Bennett’s Boys are favourites for the title just needs to watch the two blokes wearing the six and seven. Hunt showed no signs of any grand final demons when he threw a beautiful cut-out for the Broncos’ opening try to Jordan Kahu, while Milford won a footrace to a loose kick for Brisbane’s second and should have had another if not for Alex Glenn’s forward pass on the hour mark, before sealing the 17-4 win with a cool field goal.

2. Parramatta need Kieran Foran and Corey Norman on the field at the same time if they’re going to add any NRL silverware to the Auckland Nines trophy they won last month. Foran missed the season opener with a dodgy hamstring and Corey Norman didn’t return from the sheds after copping a neck injury just before half-time — and without him, the Eels looked toothless. The blue-and-gold army will be praying the ex-Bronco’s right to accompany Foran against the Cowboys next Saturday night.

3. The NRL has introduced the shot clock, reduced the interchange, and spent a small African GDP on the video ref bunker . . . but footy’s footy, 26 blokes whacking into each other on a big green paddock, and these minor rule changes make next to no difference. The shot clock is particularly futile — players stand around waiting for the 35 seconds to run out, and were quick to spot a loophole anyway: the countdown only begins when the ref says, ‘Start the clock!’ . . . so if the captain’s gibbering away to the whistleblower everyone gets the same breather they always got.

4. Greg Eden will be having Semi Radradra charging through his nightmares for weeks to come. The 25-year-old Pommy winger made a strong start to his first NRL appearance but the Eels clearly targeted his flank . . . and the pressure took its toll after 32 minutes, when Eden spilled a bomb that led to Parra’s opening try. Eden ended with four errors and was lucky to get his singular fantasy point (he was in the negatives with five minutes left). His assignment should he keep his spot in round two? Manu ‘The Beast’ Vatuvei. Gulp.

5. Is there something wrong with the footies in 2016? The normally reliable Corey Parker sprayed one from three attempts at goal in the first half while 83-per-cent sharp-shooter Michael Gordon also missed his only attempt. Panthers super boot Jamie Soward offered an interesting explanation in commentary on Triple M: the NRL has changed the sponsor from Powerade to Schick Hydro in 2016, and Sowie reckons the new sponsor — whose paint covers less of the pill — shaves a bit of weight off the Steeden, throwing the kickers off kilter. Or maybe they’re just rusty.

Broncos 17 (Kahu, Milford, Oates tries; Parker, Milford goals; Milford field goal) beat Eels 4 (Gutherson) at Pirtek Stadium.

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Posted in: NRL Team News

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