Opening day of the NRL season (aka Christmas at Commentary Box Sports) is upon us, with a Thursday night blockbuster between Brisbane and South Sydney at a packed-out Suncorp Stadium to kick the premiership off.
In recent seasons, we’ve become accustomed to the Rabbitohs as a heavyweight, taking the ‘alpha dog’ role in their rivalry with the up-and-down Broncos.
Throwback Thursday this week is going back to 2004, when the Bunnies were on their way to a second straight wooden spoon and had not beaten the Broncos in 15 years – a losing run of 13 matches.
Just 7,049 fans turned up to the SFS for the Round 25 clash, but the teams – at opposite ends of the NRL spectrum – produced a thriller. The Broncos led 18-8 at halftime, but the Rabbitohs took just five minutes of the second half to draw level.
The visitors, missing 11 first grade regulars, pushed out to a 10-point lead again, before the battling home side posted the next three touchdowns to take a shock 34-28 lead. A Neville Costigan try after an error by tiny Souths fullback Roy Bell, who scored a brilliant double earlier, allowed Corey Parker to send the match into extra-time with an ice-cool conversion from out wide.
Rabbitohs halfback Joe Williams hit the upright with a field goal attempt during a frantic 10 minutes of golden point, which ultimately failed to produce a scorer. The teams finished locked at 34-all, equalling the premiership record for the highest-scoring draw.