Brisbane have ended a week that began with headlines to forget with a display to remember by thrashing Manly 36-10 at Suncorp Stadium.
The elephant in the room was not addressed but Brisbane still gave the clearest indication yet of how they were dealing with an NRL salary cap probe on Sunday.
A week that began with headlines to forget ended with a display to remember as the Broncos thrashed Manly 36-10 at Suncorp Stadium – their biggest win over the Sea Eagles in 10 years.
The topic was a “no go” area at the official post-match press conference and media were asked not to ask players in the dressing room about the issue.
Yet Brisbane provided a convincing argument that they had not been distracted by revelations the NRL would launch a probe into potential cap irregularities over 2012-14 totalling $450,000.
Despite losing Queensland centre Justin Hodges (ankle), Brisbane (7-5 record) moved to fifth on the NRL ladder with their third straight win – a seven tries to two romp.
“We have a pretty internal focus at the moment,” said Broncos coach Anthony Griffin, who rated the victory their best of 2014.
The probe and resignation of 25-year club servant Andrew Gee early last week marked yet another line in the sand moment for Brisbane in 2014.
“As a group we were really hurt by the way we threw games away early in the year,” Griffin said.
“We could have gone two ways. We could have got a bit frustrated by it but everyone knuckled down and are playing with a bit of grit.”
Just weeks after pressure was building on his job, Griffin now has the reins of a Brisbane outfit on a precious winning run during the difficult State of Origin period.
“Now we are a lot more solid. We are learning how to build pressure,” he said.
“Early in the year we were playing with more flair but beating ourselves.”
Forwards Corey Parker (127 metres gained) and Matt Gillett (190m) – who scored a length of the field 73rd minute try – were magnificent backing up from Queensland’s State of Origin game one loss.
And halfback Ben Hunt kept himself in the Origin mix.
Griffin said Queensland hopeful Sam Thaiday (79m) was “real quality” in his first game in six weeks due to a calf injury.
“He will be doing everything he can to get back into that (Queensland) team – it won’t take him long at all,” Brisbane back-rower Alex Glenn said.
Manly coach Geoff Toovey made no excuses after losing Origin stars Daly Cherry-Evans (knee) and Anthony Watmough (biceps) but welcoming back Kieran Foran and Jamie Lyon.
“We can only gauge our performance on the players out there…and that was uncharacteristic of us – we were very flat,” he said.
Brisbane led 14-0 after 16 minutes and 20-4 at halftime.
Jack Reed and Dale Copley both grabbed try scoring doubles.