Dark days shaped Broncos' next generation: Capewell


Kurt Capewell reckons Brisbane's brief period in the NRL wilderness has forged the side's emerging stars into a unit ready to challenge for a title.

The Broncos thumped Melbourne 26-0 in Friday's qualifying final at Suncorp Stadium, ending a winless streak against the visitors at their home ground that stretched back to 2009.

It was Brisbane's first final in four years, halfback and captain Adam Reynolds stamping his class behind a brilliant kicking game and the side's improved defence making the Storm look second-rate.

"We didn't read into the psychological side of it too much," Penrith 2021 premiership star Capewell said of the hoodoo-breaking effort.

"It was just another game and we prepared well; we knew we had the game to beat any team in the comp.

"It was tough, but it was dominant as well."

Capewell and South Sydney talisman Reynolds were recruited to Red Hill to add experience, poise and starch to a side that finished last in 2020 and a distant 14th a year later.

Players including Pat Carrigan, Thomas Flegler, Payne Haas, Kotoni Staggs, Jordan Riki and Herbie Farnworth were all part of those campaigns and shone on Friday night.

"A lot of resilience was built here in those tough years and it's paying off now," Capewell said.

"They're still here and together, all overcame that together.

"For me, it was always the plan to get back here and get the club back on top where it should be."

Brisbane are two wins away from the club's first title since 2006 and will enjoy a week off before a home preliminary final against one of Penrith, the Warriors, Newcastle or Canberra.

"There's plenty of motivation to be focused; I don't think we'll have any problems with that," Capewell said.

"We'll go back, start training and get ready for the next game and find places to improve.

"The hard work's paying off but there's always room for improvement."

While Capewell is keeping a lid on it, rival coach Craig Bellamy is adamant the Broncos can add to their six titles.

"Without a doubt," he said after Brisbane kept the Storm scoreless for the first time in 55 meetings.

"I don't know whether people don't believe me, but Broncos and Penrith have been well ahead of all the other teams.

"They can certainly go all the way.

"Their attack's a real strong point but the biggest thing this year, the change, has been their defence.

"They seemed to disrupt us and that's the area that's improved the most."