Brisbane Broncos boost NRL finals hopes with win over Gold Coast Titans
Kodi Nikorima (L) celebrates with Jamayne Isaako after scoring a try during the Broncos’ triumph. (AAP: Dave Hunt)
Brisbane has piled on the points in a crucial 34-0 victory that has all but ended Gold Coast’s faint NRL finals hopes.
The Broncos’ win over the Titans in Robina on Sunday was their biggest all season, improving a for-and-against figure that stood at -40 before kick off.
A third successive win kept them embedded in the top eight and pushed the 6-10 Titans four wins off the pace with eight games remaining.
None of the Broncos’ nine previous wins this season had been by more than nine points.
But poor discipline and consistent errors from the hosts made it easy for the Broncos to establish a 20-0 lead by the break and slowly build that margin in a scrappy second half.
Trailing 8-0 after Kodi Nikorima opened the scoring in the second minute, the Titans looked to have a reply when Kevin Proctor busted through a gap.
But Ashley Taylor’s short pass was ruled forward, while a mysterious knock-on ruling against a sure-handed Ryan James soon after took the wind out of their sails in front of 18,005 fans.
Exciting teenage centre Kotoni Staggs then jumped and gathered one-handed before throwing off Michael Gordon for a match-turning try.
Darius Boyd then crossed for the Broncos for a 20-0 lead after 30 minutes as the Titans routinely tossed in simple errors to sabotage any signs of a fight-back.
Half-back Taylor had a night to forget, throwing two forward passes and missing touch by a big margin when looking for extra metres following a penalty in a sloppy first half.
He obstructed a chaser in the second half to continue an error-riddled night that had rookie coach Garth Brennan spinning in disgust in his chair.
The lop-sided contest followed a club-worst 54-0 thrashing at the same ground last season and reinstated the Broncos’ dominance over their Queensland rivals after the Titans’ upset win in Brisbane earlier this season.