FORMER Queensland Origin forward David Stagg’s career hangs in the balance and England centre Jack Reed has a suspected detached retina after a wild south-east Queensland derby.
Broncos coach Anthony Griffin described the first half of his side’s 32-6 win at Suncorp Stadium as being “a throwback to the seventies” and captain Sam Thaiday reckoned former team-mate Dave Taylor – reported for a high shot – needed to get “brain explosions” “out of his game”.
The Broncos said the rough-house stuff from the Titans looked premeditated, the Titans denied it. But it’s the two Brisbane injuries that could have an impact long after the first half mayhem and the 10-0 penalty early penalty count against the Titans is forgotten.
Stagg, 32, screamed in agony after an innocuous incident in the 57th minute. Tryscorer Reed was taken to an eye specialist late last night.
“Staggy’s in a bit of trouble; it’s certainly a medial but they’re worried about ACL,” said Griffin.
“Jack is going to an eye specialist as we speak. He’s got something similar, potentially, to what (Josh) McGuire had, with a poke in the eye, detached retina.”
Griffin said the Titans “obviously had some type of plan to try and put us off our game or knock us around or something … it was very consistent”. Rival Joihn Cartwright responded: “You can look at the plan – it was frustration, that’s all”.
In response to his criticism of match officials the previous Sunday, Cartwright said with a smile “I’ll never bag a referee again if it means we’re going to be 10-0 down (in the penalties) at the 30-minute mark.
In response to Taylor being placed on report, second rower Thaiday said: “He’s a fantastic player but he just needs to get that type of stuff out of his game.
“There were a few little brain explosions there by him but at the end of the day, they just helped us roll down the field.
“It (would have been) very easy for us to retaliate and take things into our own hands. We’d rather hurt them on the scoreboard.”
A newspaper article last week reported that despite their coach’s displeasure with match officials the previous Sunday, Gold Coast actually receive more penalties than any other team in the NRL.
“You obviously read that story in the paper the other day,” Titans captain Nate Myles told referee Ben Cummins at one stage in the first half.
CartThe exchange took place during a first half which looked like something from long before either club was a twinkling in the eye of rugby league officials, with the Titans repeatedly penalised for foul and illegal play and effectively beaten by the time the halftime siren sounded.
The Broncos went on with the job in the second half but the career of forward David Stagg is in doubt after he suffered a suspected anterior cruciate ligament injury in the 57th minute
The scoreline was 24-0 to the Broncos at the break but it was another ledger – the penalty count – which was the talk of Suncorp. Until a few minutes before halftime, it was 10-0 to the Broncos.
Gold Coast got off to a terrible start when Aiden Sezer’s clearing kick went straight into Myles’ back, prompting an accidental offside call 20 metres from their own tryline.
And the Broncos punished them, Corey Norman putting winger Josh Hoffman over in the south-eastern corner at three minutes and Corey Parker converting from the sideline.
Six minutes later, with the visitors already on the back foot because of the slew of penalties, Thaiday dived over from dummy-half and lock Parker ticked the scoreline over to 12-0.
Gold Coast lost hooker Beau Falloon to a foot injury at the 12-minute mark and then things really got out of control.
Titans prop Luke Bailey was caught at second marker in front of the posts after 20 minutes, with Parker making it 14-0. Taylor was pinged from dropping the knees in a tackle and then for a high shot, all in the space of two minutes.
As trainers attended to Greg Bird when he received a neck injury in a collision at the back, someone could be heard over the referees’ microphone saying “you’re going to get carved up tonight. Don’t worry about it.”
Parker added another penalty goal after that incident, with Ashley Harrison ruled to have made another high tackle, for 16-0.
Fast forward to the 29th minute, when Titan Jamal Idris executed a high challenge on Brisbane’s Jack Reed. “He tried to take his head off,” a Brisbane player told the referees. “You need to start playing football or I’ll sit someone down,” whistler Ben Cummins told Titans captain Nate Myles.
But when Ryan James was caught holding down in front of his own posts, Parker made it 18-0.
And Cummins made good on his threat at 32 minutes when Bird hit David Stagg high and was sent to the sin bin. Two minutes more elapsed before Taylor was booked for a late tackle on Wallace.
Brisbane added another try six minutes short of the break, England international Reed managing to dot down just inside the corner post an instant before list left leg touched the ground out-of-bounds.
Parker added another sideline conversion to bring up the halftime scoreline.
The Titans finally got onto the scoreboard when winger David Mead scored six mintues into the second half, but a lovely kick by Broncos debutant Jake Granville – and a fortuitous bounce – laid on Lachlan Maranta’s 63rd minute touchdown.
BRISBANE 32 (J Hoffman S Thaiday J Reed L Maranta tries C Parker 8 goals) bt GOLD COAST 6 (D Mead try A Sezer goal) at Suncorp Stadium. Referees: B Cummins/P Haines. Crowd: 34,596.
NB: Stagg was later diagnosed with a media ligament problem and ruled out for 10 weeks. Reed has a fractured eye socket and will be sidelined for four to five weeks