Things are slowly coming together for the Brisbane Broncos and it’s progress coach Wayne Bennett is pleased with.
The Broncos haven’t lost a game since their opening round thrashing at the hands of South Sydney and their fledgling combinations are improving each week.
Their latest victory, 26-16 over the Gold Coast Titans came off the back of a crucial 20-minute defensive freeze out of the home side.
The Broncos laid on three first-half tries after that start to take an 18-6 half-time lead, which the Titans could never claw back.
The second half was marred by basic errors, including a period of three almost consecutive knock-ons traded by both sides.
Bennett said those errors were a backwards step for the side, but he wasn’t panicking.
“We had a lot of them (little problems) solved until tonight when we went back to old habits a bit in the second half,”he said.
“As I said to them before the game, it probably didn’t gel with them, but it’s not muscle memory for them.
“It all takes a bit longer, but we’re going on the right track.”
One area that has significantly improved for Brisbane is their defence of the line and that 20-minute hold out of the Titans was a positive sign for Bennett.
“The Titans, they came obviously to cause an upset here and worked pretty hard for that first 20 minutes,” he said.
“We just hung in, we didn’t hang in by much but we stayed in, kept it to zero and then we started to pick up some points.”
There were individual high points too, with five-eighth Anthony Milford finishing with a confidence-boosting double, finally scoring his first points in Broncos colours.
Mitchell Dodds went home with two tries as well, while Sam Thaiday continued to answer Bennett’s calls, with a damaging showing off the bench.
Ryan James was a standout for the Titans, with another impressive performance adding substance to a case for an Origin berth.
Broncos captain for the night, Corey Parker, said that defence was key to the win, Brisbane’s fourth straight.
“We’ve put a lot of hard work into that but it’s nice to have the confidence that the guy inside and outside’s going to turn up and do the job for you and in defence that’s what you need,” he said.
Titans coach Neil Henry said basic mistakes killed his side after the promising start.
“It was fundamental errors and inexperience but I think a bit of frustration too,” he said.
“They were tanking, they were struggling with the momentum we had and it was our turn to absorb a bit of pressure and we didn’t do that well enough.”
With a Friday night match against the Roosters their next battle, Bennett said Brisbane’s place in the NRL pecking order was becoming clearer.
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