They Wanted Us Out

 

Played

Won 

Lost 

 Draw

For 

Against 

W% 

All Time 

41

11

27

3

697

1030

27%

Last 10 Years

16

6

10

0

338 (Avg 21 ppg)

390 (Avg 24 ppg)

37.5%

In 1988 the Brisbane Broncos, the first privately owned rugby league team in Australia, began with a boom, smashing reigning premiers Manly 44-10 in their very first match. A brand new, and exceedingly brash persona had entered the Rugby League landscape, and the game in this country would never be quite the same again.

Brisbane had a strong side right from the start but, with our mighty pack of the late 80's, we were too strong the first two times we played them. However, as the Rabbitohs declined from 1990 onwards, the Broncos grew stronger. They established a rather frightening superiority, winning 15 and drawing one of the next 16 premiership encounters.

Yet, sandwiched between all these disasters was a truly great Souths victory.

Before the start of the 1994 premiership rounds, the Tooheys Challenge was played - a knockout competition with $200,000 prize money for the winners. After finishing third last in 1993, the Rabbitohs surprised even their staunchest fans by qualifying for the final against the Broncos, who had won the previous two premierships and were without doubt the champion team of the era.

Souths fielded a team of no-name kids against the Queensland giants and started the match as 6-1 outsiders. But if somebody told them they had no chance, the boys in red and green clearly didn't take any notice. The match was played over four quarters on a balmy Friday night in Albury and, with Club legend Bob McCarthy recently installed as coach, the Rabbitohs did the Grand Old Club proud.

Diminutive half back Craig Field inspired Souths to a 14-4 lead into the second quarter, but Brisbane rallied to score for 14-10. A penalty goal saw us lead 16-10 at halftime. After the interval Field set up another try, fullback Duncan McRae booted a field goal and, all of a sudden, the Rabbitohs led 23-10.

It seemed too good to be true, and the Broncos clicked into gear scoring three tries that saw us trailing for the first time in the match, 26-23. Rabbitoh fans everywhere groaned with the sickening realisation that Brisbane would surely not be beaten from here, but once again, someone had forgotten to read the script to Field. With eight minutes to go, a superb move sent him over for a try and a 27-26 lead. Pandemonium broke out in lounge rooms everywhere as the Rabbitohs faithful celebrated their first piece of silverware since the 1981 midweek Tooth Cup.

Off the field, in the broader context of the ARL, the Broncos never seemed satisfied. Even though they won the premiership twice in their first six years; even though they had more funds to work with than anyone else, they always felt they were hard done by. Always at war with the ARL over something, it all got rather nasty in the first half of the '90s. They set up a sponsorship deal with a brewer in direct competition with the sponsors of their own home ground. They wanted to play a semi-final at home when all semi-finals were played at the Sydney Football Stadium. Every time a Brisbane player was suspended, it was the evil dogs from Sydney ganging up on the innocents from north of the border. Eventually, on April 1 1995, when their CEO John Ribot left to become the CEO of Super League and all the Brisbane players signed immediately with the rebel competition, the Broncos set in train a course of events that would shake the very foundations of the game and nearly destroy the South Sydney Rabbitohs.

In 1999, as we fought for our life in the final year before the dreaded "rationalisation" to 14 teams, they twice knocked us off our stride on the field. The second game, played in Round 20 in front of nearly 20,000 at the Sydney Football Stadium, followed a great Souths run of 6 wins from 9 games. But the Broncos smashed us 22-8 and it seemed to destroy the team's confidence. We didn't win again and, on October 15, 1999, South Sydney felt the cruellest blow – exclusion from the competition they had helped to create nearly a century before.

During our exile there was never a single word of support from north of the border. They were the future; we were the past. They had it all; we were destitute. They never even seemed to notice we were gone.

The history books show that we fought and overcame our unjust exclusion from the NRL, returning to the field in 2002. But the same books will tell that it would take another four years before we were able to lower the colours of the Broncos.

It happened on a strange, almost monsoonal, night in 2006. The Rabbitohs had endured their worst start to a season in 60 years, losing their first 12 games, but during that week a ceremony was held that would change the face of the South Sydney Rabbitohs forever. A cheque for $3 million changed hands and Peter Holmes it Court and Russell Crowe took charge of the club. Four nights later it felt like a biblical scene at Telstra Stadium as the heavens opened and the drought was broken. Wingers Luke MacDougall and Merritt each scored within 10 minutes and the Rabbitohs led 10-0. Fifteen minutes later it was 10-all before prop Jaiman Lowe decimated the Broncos defence and plunged over. Another pair of tries to the wingers and a try to utility back Todd Polglase completed the rout, Souths winning 34-14. It was the dawn of a brand new era at South Sydney and our first win against the Broncos in the premiership since 1989.

Since then we have turned the tables against the Broncos on a number of occasions.

Our next victory came in Round 19 2009. Coming off a big win the week before, we arrived at Suncorp full of confidence. After a strong start we led 16-6 at the break, but the second half was when Souths really exploded. We crossed three times within the next ten minutes to extend the lead to 32-6.

But perhaps the most unusual and memorable moment of the match occurred in the 65th minute, as referee Tony De Las Heras was thrown to the ground in a collision from Jamie Simpson, and then knocked out cold by a stray Tonie Carroll knee. The Rabbitohs momentum failed to let up however, as we crossed twice more in a famous 44-12 victory.

Centre Beau Champion created history as he finished the match as the first Rabbitoh to bag a hat-trick against the Broncos, while John Sutton had an absolute blinder, having involvements in six tries. It remains our biggest winning margin against them.

Although we dropped our next meeting, the following match in Perth during the 2011 season was one of the most bizarre games played in history. With an absolute downpour in the west, the teams arrived to a waterlogged nib Stadium, with the field resembling more of a quagmire than a Rugby League field.

Despite the abysmal conditions, we got off to a flyer with a try in the first minute to Chris McQueen. Next, halfback Chris Sandow took advantage of the extraordinary conditions, kicking to the in goal. Off the boot, the ball looked like it was going to smash into the back fence but, instead, it landed in a huge puddle in the in goal and stopped dead. Fullback Rhys Wesser reaped the reward as he plunged into the water to score one of the most freakish tries ever seen, certainly in Perth!

The Broncos fought back, but we took a 14-6 halftime lead. They made it a real contest when they dived over in the 55th minute, bringing the margin down to just two points, but Souths' tenacity and desperation in defence held them off. Sandow nailed another penalty goal after the siren, and the scoreboard read 16-12. Overjoyed with the result, coach John Lang celebrated by sliding through the wet face down as if he was ten years old again.

As Souths began to emerge as a premiership contenders, Brisbane began to struggle with life after super coach Wayne Bennett. The tide was turning, and a Red and Green tsunami was about to hit the Broncos.

In 2013 we put them to the sword in a dominant display at Suncorp Stadium, 26-12. The Broncos had no answer to our powerful forward pack, despite leading 12-8 at the break.

There was so much to remember about season 2014 that it may not have been recognised at the time, but that year we beat Brisbane twice for the first time in our history.

The first match was an ANZAC Day classic.

Up 10-nil after 10 minutes, fullback Greg Inglis produced the moment of the season, gathering a kick ten metres out from his own line and beating eight defenders in a 90 metre run to score. Commentators dubbed it the try of the year, and they weren't wrong.

It seemed his teammates were in such awe of their fullback's efforts, that they forgot to keep their minds on the job, as the Broncos scored three tries to lead 16-14 at halftime, and then went over again not long after the break, bringing their lead to eight.

In a moment that strangely previewed his heroics on the biggest night of the year on October 5, prop George Burgess smashed his way through to score a signature try under the posts, but the Broncos struck back again to lead by six.

Souths continued the fightback, scoring with ten to go, and after Reynolds converted from the sideline, the scores were levelled. A late strip allowed the sharpshooter to boot a penalty goal from 35 metres out, sealing a sensational 28-26 win.

Our next encounter saw us put on a clinic, with Inglis appropriately scoring a hat-trick in the Indigenous Round, setting up a 42-16 win. Brisbane were eventually knocked out in week one of the finals, while we triumphed and took out the Premiership. After years of domination at the hands of the Broncos, we finally had the wood on them.

And there was no let up the next time. After being crowned premiers, Souths first round match of 2015 was on the road in Brisbane, and there was plenty of hype as they brought Wayne Bennett home.

Much to the joy of the Rabbitohs faithful however, Souths took up exactly where they had left off the previous year, cruising to a 36-6 shellacking. Adam Reynolds was on song, kicking 6 conversions in as many attempts, including a monstrous penalty goal from halfway after the siren had sounded. As they walked out of Suncorp into the warm night, Souths fans felt the glow of a clearly established superiority over a Club that had, for much of its existence, run roughshod over much of the Rugby League landscape.

But, sadly, it wasn't to last.

That was our last victory against the Broncos and our next encounter, later that year, would turn out to be a very dark evening indeed. In Round 25, we hosted them at the Sydney Football Stadium for the first time since 2006 in celebration of Old Boys day.

That meant nothing to the Broncos, who had vastly improved since their Round 1 demolition, and they ran out eight tries to two winners. Five-eighth Anthony Milford ran riot that cold August night, and the final scoreboard read 47-12. We never recovered from that, being eliminated in the first week of the finals while the Broncos went on to their seventh Grand Final.

Plenty will agree that the biggest injustice the Broncos have ever served up against us was in Round 8, 2017.

Going into the match Souths were at long odds, already having lost Greg Inglis for the season, and with Adam Reynolds a late withdrawal. The whole team was reshuffled, but that didn't stop them from displaying the famous South Sydney spirit.

The Broncos identified our weaknesses out wide, leading 10-8 early on through two tries to winger Corey Oates.

The first big incident of the match came ten minutes before halftime. Attacking our line, the Broncos put in a grubber kick, which ricocheted off John Sutton's foot and landed in front of an off-side Korbin Sims, who put the ball over the line. The crowd was confident the try would be disallowed, but the video referee ruled that Sutton had played at the ball, putting Sims back onside. A huge roar of disapproval came from the Burrow, and the Broncos held an 18-8 halftime lead.

The underdog Rabbitohs shot out of the blocks in the second half, laying on three tries in the next twenty minutes to bring up a 24-18 lead. Victory seemed surely to be on the horizon, however it wasn't meant to be.

The last twelve minutes of the match saw two controversial refereeing decisions both go against the Rabbitohs. In the 69th minute, Anthony Milford crashed over for the Broncos but was rolled onto his back, unable to ground the ball. As he writhed on the ground for what felt like an eternity, the ball was suddenly dislodged, bouncing backwards into the field of play.

Centre Tautau Moga gathered and dived over, and it was once again up to the video review to determine our fate. Despite Milford being clearly held up, the officials gave the Broncos the green light, levelling the scores. Nobody at the ground or watching at home could believe the decision.

But there was even worse to come. Just three minutes from fulltime, with the scores level and the Broncos parked in front of the sticks, a field goal attempt was inevitable. And sure enough, Milford piloted it over, the referee's arm went up and it was 25-24. The only problem was that upon video replay, it was clear that Milford had knocked on while attempting to gather the ball. No video review this time, and no justice for the Rabbitohs. The Souths faithful were absolutely filthy, but the game was gone.

When we talk about our record against the Broncos, we have to consider it in a wider context. After all, it's hardy been a fair fight at times. For quite a few years they were the only team in all of Queensland. Ever since the first time they took the field in the ARL in 1988, the Brisbane Broncos have operated in a world of success. They are rugby league aristocracy, more often than not having a near State of Origin strength team.

But Souths know about survival. And we have not only come back from the dead; we are now entrenched in a new era of professionalism. We have now taken back our rightful place as contenders for the prize. In some ways it was fitting that the week we moved into a new and exciting era was the week we smashed the Broncos to pieces on our home turf back in 2006. Over the last ten years, we have started to regain some ground in what was, for such a long time, a brutal imbalance of results to the all powerful Brisbane juggernaut.

And, just for the record, we'll never forget how they treated us with contempt. We'll never, ever forget how they thought the game of rugby league was just fine without the South Sydney Rabbitohs.