Predicted Finish: 1st
Actual Finish: 5th
Broncos 2022 Player Movements
Xavier Coates (Melbourne Storm), Tom Dearden (North Queensland Cowboys), Reece Walsh (New Zealand Warriors)
Thomas Flegler (2023), Brendan Piakura (2024), Jordan Riki (2024), Kotoni Staggs (2025)
|Off Contract 2021|
Jesse Arthars, John Asiata, Dale Copley, Alex Glenn, Danny Levi, David Mead, Anthony Milford, Tesi Niu, Keenan Palasia, Isaiah Tass, Ben Te'o
The Broncos entered the 2016 season as almost un-backable favourites. Having come so close in 2015, and having added one of the competition’s most attacking centres in James Roberts, it was hard to see anyone who could match the Broncs over the season.
Although they did look like a top four side for the large majority of the season, ultimately they finished 5th and were knocked out in one of the most intense finals encounters in recent memory.
Club, Origin and Kangaroo legend Corey Parker exited the game having served his side well over 15 years and almost 350 games.
Although they will be disappointed they could not go one better than their 2015 campaign, Broncos fans were still able to enjoy yet another season of relative success.
Best Player: Anthony Milford
The Broncos number six gets the nod over Darius Boyd by the smallest of margins, as the later emerged as arguably the best fullback in the game.
Milford had a wow of a season scoring 13 tries, setting up 16 more and making 15 line breaks in an attacking master-class.
The 22-year-old has established himself as the kind of player who can cause trouble in attack without even touching the ball, as his presence in an attacking raid draws the attention of defenders.
His combinations with Boyd and his other outside backs have become a thing of beauty. With news of Thurston retiring, Milford is sure to be in the reckoning to take over in 2018.
Season Highlight: 30-6 win over Manly, round 14
Brisbane had bigger wins in the season, namely the 53-0 hammering of the hapless Knights in round seven, but this game was something special.
52,000+ fans packed in to see the Broncos run riot over Manly, scoring five tries to one and generally pantsing their opponents.
It could, and probably should have been worse as the Broncos tore Manly apart, making eight line-breaks and almost 400 more meters.
This was just one of many occasions where Anthony Milford had the ball on a string and ran like he was covered in spiders. No one wanted to tackle him. He scored two tries and had a hand in others.
He was far from alone though as Darius Boyd joined him in almost tormenting the Manly defenders.
Best Signing: David Mead
Mead is certainly not the biggest name signing across the competition, but I think the Broncos have picked up a really good player here.
Mead had a strong season for the Titans but I believe his best footy is ahead of him, and under Wayne Bennett, and on the back of supply of ball from Milford and Hunt, I can only see him improving across 2017.
At 28 he should be at his physical peak, and once in the clear there aren’t many who can run him down, and I can honestly see him playing a big part this season.
There was plenty of interest in Mead’s services, especially from the rival rugby code, but in the end, the Broncos got their man.
– Hunt drama was over quickly: The Ben Hunt contract decision had the potential to become a big off-field distraction for both player and club, but the decision was made quickly and now both sides can look toward a big 2017 and the future beyond. I am really happy this didn’t turn into another DCE saga where he was wined and dined by multiple clubs looking for a long-term halfback.
– Drop in expectation: Almost every man and his dog have the Broncos as heavy title favourites heading into 2016. Milford was a lock to be awarded the Dally M award and it was just a matter of who they’d play in the Grand Final to be decided. No pressure aye? In 2017 they enter with far less pressure on them and I believe that will work in their favour. As much as players deny reading headlines etc, it’s impossible not to let expectation and pressure get to you.
Season Grading: B
I was tempted to give a C grading here as the Broncos had a roster capable of running away with the title, but no side who was beaten in golden point in a classic second round finals match deserves below a B.
It was fitting to see Corey Parker go out a winner in front of a big crowd, and with a win, in his last game at Suncorp Stadium as the Broncos beat local rivals the Titans to advance.
On the recruitment front, the Broncos didn’t need to sign too much but did add some depth out wide, and it will be interesting to see what Bennett has in store for Benji Marshall.
They’ll need someone to step up and fill the massive void left by Parker, but if anyone is capable of unearthing a talent, it’s the Broncos mentor.