Broncos lose rookie as they go down to the Titans
THE Broncos have come crashing back down to earth in a stunning 26-18 boilover loss to little brother Gold Coast at Brisbane's Suncorp Stadium.
After winning three on the trot against Manly, the Roosters and Warriors, Brisbane have fallen to their seventh loss of the season in a shock home ground beating in front of 30,048 stunned fans.
Despite M1 derby finishing in Brisbane's favour on eight of the previous nine occasions before Saturday's game, the younger brother has won back-to-back games on Brisbane's hallowed turf.
Gold Coast came out of the blocks on fire and simply left the Broncos in their wake, as was the case last season in the Titans' shock 26-14 win at Suncorp Stadium.
The Broncos were without State of Origin players Corey Oates, Matt Gillett and Joe Ofahengaue, and couldn't match the Titans' intensity from the outset.
Coach Anthony Seibold, handling the Origin period for the first time in the Broncos' top job, said it was set to be a difficult period.
"It is challenging, there's no doubt about that," he said.
"It doesn't make sense to back them up every single time.
"We picked a team who we thought could do the job. It's obviously going to be a challenge."
The post-Origin period has always been a worry for the Brisbane side and this year is no different.
Brisbane dropped both matches last year when they had their players back up from Origin in round 14 and round 18.
They headed into Saturday's match full of confidence as they aimed up against a struggling Titans' side who had lost nine games this year.
Just four weeks ago, the Broncos were under immense pressure to turn their season around after falling to their equal worst start in club history.
And in the space of a month, coach Seibold had seemingly achieved that.
But then Saturday's loss to 15th-placed Gold Coast has brought them crashing back down to earth.
If they have any hope of being in serious finals contention they will need to avoid becoming complacent again, especially when they travel to Sydney to play Parramatta next weekend.
The Broncos were left stunned by the Titans' enthusiasm early in the game as livewires AJ Brimson and Tyrone Roberts terrorised the defensive line.
Young Brisbane halfback Tom Dearden lasted only 10 minutes yesterday, succumbing to a high ankle sprain and finishing the match in a moon boot on the sideline.
It is understood the injury is similar to Daly Cherry-Evans' syndesmosis issue, but scans will confirm the extent of the damage.
Seibold may well use Saturday's makeshift halfback, Jake Turpin, as his starting No.7 for the time being.
Young gun halves Sean O'Sullivan and Cory Paix remain on the fringes but Turpin was incredibly impressive when he filled in the No.7 role.
He was initially a halfback before an injury during his time at Melbourne shifted him into the dummy-half position.
He could not be faulted on Saturday, finishing the game with five tackle breaks and 29 bruising tackles.
Million-dollar man Anthony Milford had to step up in the absence of Dearden but did not reach his full potential.
Brisbane's Origin returners David Fifita and Payne Haas were also good in their back-up from Wednesday night and Andrew McCullough's early return from injury was successful.
Seibold was adamant that Turpin would remain in the side after his effort on Saturday.
"Jake will be in our team, just what position," he said.
"I'll see how Sean O'Sullivan pulls up who is playing for Norths (Devils).
"We will review and see what we need for next week."