The Brisbane Broncos have been one of the consistently strongest teams in rugby league since their inception in 1987. Having the relatively massive rugby league-loving Brisbane market to themselves, the Broncos have taken a slew of premierships in 1992, 1993, 1997 (albeit a Super League title), 1998, 2000 and 2006. Besides a grand final appearance in 2015, it has been a dry spell for Brisbane despite making all but two finals series since the NRL began in 1998.
The Broncos have been the incubator of a slew of rugby league’s stars, including Wally Lewis, Allan Langer, Darren Lockyer and former senator Glenn Lazarus (who thought they’d ever have to say that?), not to mention long-serving coach, Wayne Bennett. The 2017 Broncos vintage looks as promising as ever. They can never be written off but are they premiers in the making? We will have to wait and see.
Feared in the 2000s and now at the league’s nadir in the 2010s, the Newcastle story is definitely one of ups and downs. Founded in 1987 as an expansion to the NSWRL, Newcastle were early successes, taking their first premiership in 1997 during the ARL/Super League split. Andrew Johns led the team to a second premiership in the united competition in 2001.
The wheels of the club came off not long after his retirement. A string of scandals followed. In 2011, the Knights were bought by Nathan Tinkler whose subsequent bankruptcy pushed the team into NRL ownership. Since then, the team has consistently underperformed. Their 2016 season, where Newcastle finished with just one win, one draw and the wooden spoon, was the only time in the NRL’s history that a team has finished with fewer than three wins. This season is not going much better for them. While I don’t claim to be a Knights fan, it is difficult not to feel for the loyal fans who haven’t got much to look forward to.