In order to secure a home preliminary final, the Broncos have to break free from a 14-match losing streak to the Storm during their fight at Suncorp Stadium this Friday night. Overcoming this hurdle is vital if they want to shatter their 17-year NRL premiership dry spell.
Since their Grand Final victory over Melbourne in 2006, Brisbane has had a hard time matching the Storm, who have defeated them 31 times out of the last 35 games dating back to the beginning of the 2007 season. The Storm also hasn’t lost any of the four final series matches over this duration.
The winning percentage of Brisbane against Melbourne over the past 17 seasons is a meagre 11.4 per cent, the lowest of any NRL team against any other during this time frame.
The last time the Broncos managed to overcome the Storm was back in 2016. It’s been even longer since they’ve defeated them at Suncorp Stadium, a victory that hasn’t been seen since 2009. Melbourne’s streak of victories is testament to their powerful performance.
Bellamy, previously assistant to Wayne Bennett at the Broncos before becoming Melbourne’s coach in 2003, stated that these three players were exceptionally driven to defeat the Broncos, especially after being overlooked by the Queensland team. Such competitive determination was intensified by Walter, a former assistant of Bellamy’s and currently the head coach of Brisbane.
Bellamy expressed surprise at the team’s impressive track record against Brisbane and reiterated his respect for the history and achievement of the Broncos.
Melbourne’s latest victory against Brisbane occurred just last week, handing the Broncos their 14th consecutive defeat, and denying them a minor premiership position for the first time since 2000.
According to Billy Walters, the hooker for the Broncos who made his NRL debut with the Storm in 2019, there was always a concerted effort to win over Brisbane. He also noted the shared sentiment amongst the playing group who were all enthusiastic about defeating Brisbane, a large and popular NRL team.
He noted that Melbourne will take a lot of confidence into the match on Friday, however, the Broncos are equally committed to ending their losing streak.
Now more than ever, the Broncos will be aiming to halt the Storm‘s winning trajectory. If they win the Friday qualifying final, they’ll secure an off week before a Grand Final qualifier at Suncorp in two weeks.
There are also encouraging signs for the Storm as Ryan Papenhuyzen shares how Queensland Origin coach Billy Slater helped him revive his NRL career. He recalls when Slater empathetically supported him through a debilitating injury and admires Slater’s dedication to the club and its players.
Saluting Slater’s resilience in overcoming his own long-term injury, Papenhuyzen will be fuelled by his mentor’s spirit when he takes the field against the Broncos on Friday.