Broncos defence like 2006 premiers - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Broncos defence like 2006 premiers

By Wayne Heming 20/04/2011 04:06:38 PM Comments (0)

Brisbane's table-topping class of 2011 is on track to become the best defensive team in almost half a century.

Six weeks into the NRL season and the defence-driven Broncos are looking like clones of their 2006 premiership-winning team.

On target to smash a number of club defensive records, the Broncos can be compared to Darren Lockyer's 2006 side which tackled its way to a memorable upset title triumph over Melbourne in Shane Webcke's final game.

If Brisbane make the October grand final, this time it will be an emotional farewell game for the retiring Lockyer.

Rookie coach Anthony Griffin's 2011 Broncos are currently ranked first in the league for defence and 12th in attack.

Eerily, six games into the 2006 season and the Wayne Bennett-coached Broncos also were the NRL's best defensive side and ranked 12th in attack.

The Broncos are conceding a miserly 8.3 points a game, putting them on target to better the magnificent efforts of Manly (8.5pts in 1995), Eastern Suburbs (8.9pts and 8.8pts in 1974-75) and a salary-cap assisted 10.9 points by Melbourne in 2007 as the best defensive efforts since World War II.

At the very least, the Broncos are defending as good as any side since the limited tackle rule was introduced in 1967.

The 2006 premiers gave up 392 points at 16.3 points per game - double what this year's Broncos is currently conceding.

On the three occasions Brisbane have finished the regular season's best defensive side in 1998, 2000 and 2006, the have gone on to win the grand final.

Brisbane's second-half defence this season has been the cornerstone of their great start to the season.

In 240 minutes of second-half football, their dogged defence has allowed just eight points.

It took 227 minutes for Rooster BJ Leilua to finally break Brisbane's second-half resistance with the Broncos' only try conceded after the interval in six games.

This time last year, Brisbane's defence was as flimsy as wet paper.

They'd given up 197 points or 32.8 points a game and were struggling at 1-5.

But their new resolve has helped them to a flying 5-1 start to 2011 and a share of the competition lead along with Melbourne and premiers St George Illawarra, who also boast excellent defensive records.

Griffin, credited with turning Brisbane's turnstile defence around mid-season last year when they won seven of 10 games between May and August, has continued to work on his defensive philosophies with the young players who have surprised Lockyer with how quickly they have gelled.

"I don't know how long it will last. It mightn't last this week (Wests Tigers)," Griffin told AAP.

"We have to be proud of what we're doing there.

"I spoke to the players today and it (defence) will last as long as we want it to last.

"The day we drop our guard, it will be gone.

"This weekend will be a massive test of how hungry we really are defensively because no team attacks better than the Tigers from sideline to sideline."

Lockyer, who tipped his young players to perform above expectations earlier in the year, said nobody was getting carried away with their defensive efforts.

However, he said the rewards from playing hard for each other had created a fun mood where everyone enjoyed coming to training and nobody wanted to let anyone down.

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