Brisbane have Jamayne Isaako to thank for ending their 13-game NRL losing streak, the fullback sparking his side after an ugly first half in a 24-0 defeat of Canterbury at Suncorp Stadium.
Not since the sides last met 259 days ago had the Broncos won, both teams finishing with 3-17 records last season and arriving on Saturday behind back-to-back defeats to start this season.
They played like wins had become a foreign concept, errors punctuating a painstaking first half in which Isaako’s penalty goal was the only point-scoring play.
The theme continued in the second half before the Brisbane fullback emphatically ended the stalemate with a solo try in the 60th minute, zig-zagging by his opposite number Corey Allan.
He then broke the line again to set up winger Xavier Coates to give Kevin Walters breathing room as the rookie coach prepared to celebrate his first NRL win.
Coates wasn’t done though, leaping to take a kick and sprinting 60m through traffic for his second.
Walters heaped pressure on his underperforming halves Brodie Croft and Anthony Milford by adding halfback Tom Dearden to the bench.
The 19-year-old was only introduced in the 73rd minute but still snagged a try, winning the race to an impressive Herbie Farnworth kick.
The win was a pressure reliever for the Broncos, who have heavyweight quartet Melbourne, South Sydney, Penrith and Parramatta to play over the next month.
The Bulldogs had their chances and looked more likely before Isaako’s big play.
But they only had themselves to blame, Adam Elliott and Kyle Flanagan combining to bomb a certain try when Elliott hesitated to throw the final pass with only Isaako to beat.
Flanagan fumbled the ill-directed pass off his head and onto the ground as he ran under the posts.
The listless performance, against a team that conceded a club-record 624 points last season, was another nightmare for coach Trent Barrett to follow a 28-0 loss to Penrith in the wet last week.
Bulldogs pair Josh Jackson and Renouf Atoni were also placed on report for dangerous tackles.
Thanks to the latest COVID case, Brisbane now face an uncertain wait ahead of Friday’s game against the Storm in Melbourne.
They were to enter a degree of isolation following Saturday’s match and could fly to Melbourne on Tuesday to ensure they can be tested, while the game could also be moved to Sydney.