From powerhouse club to wooden spooners: the Brisbane Broncos' demise is complete

Updated: Sep 25, 2020

And just like that, the Brisbane Broncos' season from hell is finally over.


The club entered this season full of hope and expectation despite having their 2019 season ended in a then-record 58-0 humiliation at the hands of the Parramatta Eels at Bankwest Stadium in the first round of the finals.


Many thought that they would heed a lesson or two from that finals thrashing as they sought to end the club's longest premiership drought, which has sadly now extended into a 14th season.


All appeared to go well when the Broncos won their opening two matches of the season against the Cowboys and Rabbitohs, with the former match being the first ever match to be played at the new North Queensland Stadium.


Suddenly, everyone's lives were turned upside down as the coronavirus pandemic started to peak in Australia. Certain measures such as social distancing, state border closures and government-implemented lockdowns then caused the NRL season to be paused.


As the spread of the virus slowed down, plans were then put into place to resume the season on Thursday May 28, with the Broncos and Parramatta Eels given the honour of restarting proceedings at Suncorp Stadium.



Interest and intrigue surrounded this match as it was to be the first time the two sides faced each other since the aforementioned elimination final the previous year.


The result remained the same, with the Eels winning 34-6 - and so began the Broncos' dramatic slide into oblivion.


But nobody could have anticipated the worse that was to come seven nights later, when the Broncos faced two-time defending premiers the Sydney Roosters, whose reigning Dally M Medallist James Tedesco didn't turn up after waking up on the morning of the match with a fever.


What unfolded at Suncorp Stadium that night was a performance of embarrassment and humiliation as the six-time premiers suffered a 59-0 defeat - just one point more than the 58-0 thrashing they copped against the Eels the previous September.


Had Tedesco played in that match for the Roosters, chances are the margin could've been so much worse. Still, it exposed the gulf between a side that was rebuilding on the run and one that had won the previous two titles.


It also marked the first time the Broncos had ever been held scoreless at either Suncorp Stadium or QEII Stadium (the ground they used while the former was undergoing a massive redevelopment at the turn of the century).


It wasn't, however, the first time they'd been blanked on Queensland soil, having been kept to a duck egg on two occasions by the Cowboys in Townsville, in 2004 and 2012.


Afterwards, Channel Nine commentator Andrew Johns was particularly scathing of the Broncos' performance saying that it was "soft", while Paul Vautin chimed in saying it was "pathetic".


The Broncos then appeared to turn a corner when they led the Sea Eagles 18-0 in the first half at Central Coast Stadium in round five, only to then cough up the final 20 points to lose the match 20-18.


Another loss on the Central Coast followed, to the Knights seven nights later, before they copped it from their fans after another embarrassing display at home against the Gold Coast Titans in round seven.


They trailed 22-0 at half-time, after which they were booed off by their own supporters in what was the first match at Suncorp Stadium whereby fans were permitted to attend since the COVID-19 pandemic was declared as such in March.


Queensland's successful efforts in slowing the spread of coronavirus allowed fans back into sporting stadiums sooner than anyone expected, with the initial forecast being that they would have been locked out of major events for up to (or at