Broncos open season with win over premiers

THE talk about Brisbane all week was centred not on their players, but the coach.

But suggestions that Wayne Bennett had lost the Broncos dressing room were all but eradicated after his side notched up a hard-fought 26-18 win over Cronulla on Thursday night in the NRL's season opener.

Mojo, aura, whatever you want to call it, there's no doubt Bennett's proved a few critics wrong.

In the lead-up, the seven-time premiership-winning coach admitted his side was still a few weeks away from hitting peak form, but it still did enough in front of 11,493 fans at Southern Cross Group Stadium in the heart of the Shire.

His decision to spring a selection surprise with recruit Tautau Moga named in the centres showed to be a masterstroke, with the former Rooster and Cowboy centre playing particularly well, especially given he'd played just one NRL game in almost two years.

Moga's centre partner James Roberts was also on fire, with the speedster bagging a try after a well-placed kick from five-eighth Anthony Milford.

Milford, too, stepped up when it mattered, setting up a try and scoring a brilliant one himself with 10 minutes to go to put the result out of the Sharks' reach.

BRISBANE 26 (J Kahu A Milford C Oates J Roberts tries J Kahu 5 goals) bt CRONULLA 18 (G Beale R Leutele J Maloney tries J Maloney 3 goals) at Southern Cross Group Stadium. Referee: Matt Cecchin, Alan Shortall. Crowd: 11,493.

News Corp Australia

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