Just imagine if James Tedesco played.
Eclipsing their embarrassing 2019 NRL finals exit, a depleted Brisbane have crashed to their worst loss in club history after being routed 59-0 by the Sydney Roosters on Thursday night.
The two-time defending premiers had no problem overcoming the late withdrawal of superstar fullback Tedesco, running in 10 unanswered tries to notch their first win at Suncorp Stadium since 2014.
In a display that at times resembled a training run, the Roosters all but secured the result by the break when they jumped to a stunning 29-0 lead – the biggest halftime deficit in Broncos history.
The records didn’t stop there as the Roosters snapped a six-game losing run at the venue with easily their biggest win over Brisbane, eclipsing their previous best of 36-4 in round four 2019.
Brisbane fans no doubt had flashbacks of their 58-0 finals loss to Parramatta last year as the Roosters tore apart the Broncos’ sometimes non-existent defence that has now conceded 93 points in their last two games.
“They have no resolve, they had nothing tonight,” NRL great Paul Gallen said of Brisbane on the Nine Network.
Yet the early signs didn’t look good for the Roosters with Tedesco left in Sydney after waking up with flu-like symptoms.
He was considered no chance of passing the league’s bio-security protocols which states a player with a temperature above 37.2 degrees can’t enter the venue – rules that almost caught out another three Roosters.
There was almost more drama when halfback Kyle Flanagan, centre Joey Manu and veteran Brett Morris failed their first temperature check upon arrival at the venue before being cleared to play.
Brisbane no doubt wished they hadn’t.
Brett Morris comfortably filled the shoes left by Tedesco at fullback, defying his 33 years to set up three tries and combine with his brother Josh to help the Roosters run amok from the outset.
They showed no mercy to a Brisbane outfit forced to blood two debutants – Cory Paix and Tesi Niu – after hooker Jake Turpin became their latest casualty.
Turpin is expected to be sidelined for at least a month after being ruled out with a leg fracture below the knee.
He joined captain Alex Glenn (lacerated leg), David Fifita (knee), Tevita Pangai (suspension), Kotoni Staggs (ban) and Jack Bird (knee) on the sidelines, prompting Brisbane coach Anthony Seibold on Thursday to sign rugby convert Ben Te’o for the rest of 2020.
And it seems the Broncos will need all the help they can get before next Thursday’s clash with Manly at Central Coast.
In another concern for Seibold, prop Matt Lodge may come under scrutiny for a 32nd minute high shot on Lindsay Collins.
Not everything went to script for the Roosters with lock Victor Radley coming off in the 74th minute with a suspected elbow injury.