Brisbane collapse one for the record books

·2-min read

Brisbane are on the verge of the biggest collapse in NRL history, with the Broncos' spectacular free fall set to leave them as the best team this century to miss finals.

Safe inside the top four just six weeks ago, Brisbane will need to beat St George Illawarra on Saturday and hope Canberra lose to Wests Tigers to return to the postseason.

It comes despite looking like genuine contenders when they easily brushed aside Parramatta 36-14 in round 19, before picking up just one win since.

Since the game moved to a top-eight system in 1995, never have a team missed out on the finals after sitting in the top four in the final six rounds of the season.

The Broncos' plight is made all the more remarkable when considering they could well finish the season on 30 points, while still not making the finals.

It comes just a year after Gold Coast made last year's finals with just 22 points, and on the back of only 10 wins.

At a record of 12-11 headed into Saturday's clash with the Dragons, Brisbane have already enjoyed a better season than when they last made the finals with 11 wins and 12 losses in 2019.

Yet they could still have nothing to show for it.

Only Canterbury in 2002, Melbourne in 2010 and Parramatta in 2016 have missed the finals with a winning record this century, however each were effectively ruled out by salary cap breaches.

Beyond those, Canberra in 1999 are the last cap-compliant team to miss the finals with a positive win-loss record.

But regardless of their plight, coach Kevin Walters insists the Broncos are a finals team given their record in 2022.

"Certainly. We've been in the eight all year but we've just got to get it right tomorrow night and I am confident everything else will look after itself," Walters said.

"All we can do is play what is in front of us tomorrow night.

"We've got 13 in the bank already which is better than we've had since (2018). If we get 14 we'll be even happier.

"I am just really excited about tomorrow night because we are still in the run."

Brisbane have made two late changes to their side with Cook Islands international Brendan Piakura coming into the 17 to replace second-rower Jordan Riki who has an eye complaint.

Forward Corey Jensen has COVID and will be replaced on the bench by Rhys Kennedy, while back-rower Zac Hosking will start.

With the odds against them to reach the finals, Walters insisted this season should be considered a pass mark regardless.

"It certainly is, coming from where we've come from," Walters said.

"Two years ago we had the wooden spoon hanging upstairs in the office.

"We are excited. We are into the last round and we are still in there with a fighting chance."