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September 19, 2005

Vale, Broncos 2005

Oh, how close they came. But the Tigers scrambled, struggled, were more desperate and kept them out - then took every opportunity that came their way.

The Broncos showed that they were almost back to their best, creating 6 opportuniies in the first half, but a combination of Tigers desperation (how good is Benji Marshall?!?!) and their own ineptitude killed them off. Too much dropped ball, too many tries killed through lack of confidence - that's the tale of playing a sudden-death final after 6 losses in a row.

Gus Gould is right when he points out that one of the biggest missing elements in the Broncos performance was support play. I've pointed that out before, and a lack of enthusiasm, eg to get to the spilt ball, was another telling factor. The Tigers' try just on half-time was a classic example of that.

But there was no doubt they were back to their destructive best up the middle, with good use of decoy runners and angled rucks. Their defence was also back to its bruising best up front - in the Tigers' face early and kept them in their own half a couple of times. They created plenty of linbe breaks and opportunities - if they'd taken tham all it would have been 30 - 4 at half time and all the pressure would have been all on the Tigers.

Still, they didn't, and the Tigers broke their hearts with an intercept try and a speculator right on half time. That's another difference between the Broncos of the past few weeks and the Broncos of the past - they haven't handled the adverse decisions and negatives well lately. You saw it yesterday when, after the intercept, they immediately kicked out on the full and then started arguing and looking to the referee for justice instead of just getting on with the game and making the most of the things that do go their way. Trying too hard and looking for "divine" intervention.

I don't agree with Gus, though, that the Broncos need to radically alter their style of play. It got them to a dominant position at the top of the ladder through the regular season and it earned them plenty of opportunities to win the game. It was their lack of finishing power that cost them at the end.

To my mind, that's a matter of enthusiasm, committment and confidence. The Tigers had confidence yesterday and the Broncos didn't. But, if only....

Next year, boys.

Posted by Hughie at September 19, 2005 9:52 AM

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