The Broncos’ season is quickly unraveling after a 53-6 hammering by the Els, leaving their playoff hopes hanging by a thread.
Adam Reynolds was sent off after a failed HIA in the 12th minute as Brisbane dealt a heavy blow early on.
Things stopped short of escalating when Thomas Fleagle was taken to the hospital with a broken throat; Kobe Hetherington also missed HI, while Brenko Lee was sidelined late in the game with a hamstring injury.
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Micah Sivo scored the first points of the night before Eels then scored three tries in 10 minutes.
The Broncos showed signs of life when Lee crossed in the corner, but the red-hot Eels struck with another try — and a field goal — before halftime.
“They’re absolutely getting hammered,” said Michael Ennis of Fox League’s Broncos.
“I think they’re shot, I think they’re in big, big trouble. “I don’t know how Kevvy Walters is going to react – he’s on life support,” Ennis added.
The Eels scored twice in three minutes to take their foot off the pedal until the 65th minute of the second half.
They put the nail in the coffin with two tries in the final three minutes.
Waka Blake scored the final try of the night to break his half century.
The turtles aren’t done yet. Skype: Clint Guterson puts in Gruber for Tom Opacich to score.
Will Pennisney meets Dylan Brown’s cross and clears.
In the first try of the second half, star back-rower Isaiah Papalii was buried.
Shaun Lane slipped through a gap from Dylan Brown before passing to Clint Gutson to score.
The Broncos finally got on the board behind an Els error. Dylan Brown gave the Broncos a golden opportunity with a fumble before the first down. They scored the first goal.
And it was the Eels again as Mitchell Moses worked his magic on the short side. It turned into a 24-nil lead.
“This could be scary,” said Fox League’s Andrew Voss, who said Greg Alexander is a “danger sign” for the Broncos.
The Eels extended their lead on a pass from Isaiah Papalii by senior Clint Guterson.
Tomo Opacic beat three defenders to score from Shaun Lane’s pass to Maika Sivo.
The Broncos’ most important player, Adam Reynolds, walked off the field and straight into the tunnel. Fox League sideline reporter Corey Parker said he was a HI, but wasn’t sure if he “believed that.”
The Eels got on the board first with an impressive team try. Shawn Lane found Clint Guterson in the outfield and Junior Paulo threw the ball past try scorer Micah Sivo.
A top eight spot is on the line for the Broncos in a must-win clash with the Eels at Suncorp Stadium.
The Broncos sit as low as eighth and just two points behind the Raiders, who could easily run home and make the football finals.
It’s an equally important game for the fifth-placed Eels, who still have a chance of securing a top-four finish.
Apart from the top eight, skipper Adam Reynolds is playing his 250th NRL game and will go up against in-form Eels half-back Mitchell Moses in what Fox League’s Michael Ennis called an “exciting battle”.
There’s also a chance the Broncos will regain some pride in their jersey after last week’s humiliating 60-12 loss to the Hurricanes.
They will have to do without star winger Selwyn Cobo, though, who has asked to be rested. Jordan Pereira replaces him in the side.
Ryan James is sidelined with a broken finger, Corey Jensen joins the starting side and Keenan Palacios on the bench, with Zach Hosking in the mix for Rhys Kennedy.
In some welcome news, starting second rower Kurt Capewell looks set to overcome an ankle injury to play.
Els coach Brad Arthur made a late change with Maratha Nikore starting at lock and Ryan Matherson dropping to the bench.
Broncos: 1. Te Myer Martin 2. Corey Oates 3. Cottony Staggs 4. Brenco Lee 19. Jordan Pereira 6. Ezra Mam 7. Adam Reynolds 8. Thomas Flagler 9. Jake Turpin 10. Payne Haas 11. Kurt Capewell 12. Jordan Rickey 16 Corey Jensen 14. Billy Walters 15. Kobe Hetherington 21. Keenan Palacio 22. Zach Hosking Subs: 18. Delouise Hoeter
Isles: 1. Clinton Guterson 2. Micah Sivo 3. William Pennicini 4. Tom Opacich 5. Waka Blake 6. Dylan Brown 7. Mitchell Moses 8. Regan Campbell-Gillard 9. Reid Mahoney 10. Junior Paulo 11. Shawn Lane 12. Isaiah Papalii ‘i 17. Marata Niukore 13. Ryan Matherson 14. Makahesi Makatoa 15. Jacob Arthur 16. Oregon Kaufusi. Substitute: 20. Bryce Cartwright
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