The Brisbane Broncos have had the perfect start against the Manly Sea Eagles at Central Coast Stadium.
Two tries in the opening 20 minutes have the Sea Eagles on the back foot with the under fire Broncos romping to a 12-0 lead with Kotoni Staggs keeping the ball alive on the last and kicking for himself, before Xavier Coates jumped high to catch a bomb.
Darius Boyd then ran over the top of Tom Trbojevic to make it 18-0 after 32 minutes.
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“It’s quite remarkable what we have seen in Gosford tonight,” Warren Smith said in commentary
The news also got worse for the Sea Eagles with Marty Tapau out of the match after dislocating his thumb.
It’s been a week to forget for the Broncos who were heavily criticised for their performances since the return of the NRL three weeks ago.
A big loss to the Parramatta Eels and a record 59-0 loss to the Sydney Roosters, had everyone in the rugby league world piling on after back-to-back drubbings with legends taking aim.
The likes of Wayne Bennett, Gorden Tallis and Kevin Walters all hammered the team, with Queensland coach Walters, who was denied the head coaching position for Anthony Seibold, lashing the team earlier in the week.
“They rolled out some excuses before the game about how inexperienced they are. That’s absurd," he told Big Sports Breakfast this week.
"I went in for an interview with the Broncos 18 months ago.. and discussed my plans and how I saw (the club's future).
"And I can tell you that the pathway that they have taken, it's off a bush track to where my plans were to take the club.”
Pre-match the criticism returned with Tallis again taking aim at the Broncos lack of leadership.
But Michael Ennis, who played three years in Brisbane between 2006 and 2008, said playing for the Broncos changed his career because of the way the team culture was at the time.
“It’s important that they don’t keep looking back at the team of the 90s. The team of the 90s had a 70 per cent win rate, the only team that’s been ahead of that has been that Dragons side of the 60s, so they’ve got to move past that but they’ve got to make sure what is being ingrained in these young kids are the traits that built the club and at the moment they haven’t got that and they haven’t had it for over a decade. That’s the problem,” Ennis began.
“When I walked through the front door of the Broncos, Andrew Gee, who was the football manager at the time, met me with a Broncos bag and there was something so significant about that bag, something that made me so proud to walk through that door. There were these old tin lockers that had Lockyer, Civonaceva, Thorn, Webcke and above those badges were the legacy of Tallis, Lazarus, Walters, the list goes on. There was an expectation when you walked in there of what had been before you.
“And that era of Wayne Bennett, that culture was build on no excuses and that’s been the problem with Brisbane, there are too many excuses coming out of there at the moment. It was built on trust and earning your right. And at the moment these young kids are being given everything and being pumped up as superstars.
“When I played for Brisbane, there were guys that were given yellow shirts, that was the Lockyer, that was Civonaceva, that was Webcke, then there were guys like Parker and Dane Carlaw, guys that were great servants of the club but hadn’t yet reached that leadership quality but aspired to be there, then there were us rookies that got our pink shirts. And that was the stepping stone of what it took to be a Bronco and you had to earn the right to do that.”
Ennis also remembered a match during an Origin camp without their stars, going to Penrith and beating the Panthers “because that was the expectation that came with the jersey”.
“At the moment, there is no expectation of what that Broncos side and what Broncos sides used to be and they’ve somehow got to strip back all the garbage, all the statistics, all the excuses and get back to the culture of what it could be,” Ennis added.
NRL great Cooper Cronk also called for the Broncos to take on the opposition’s leader from the kick-off.
Whether the Broncos will take this to heart remains to be seen although the signs are good after the early exchanges against the Sea Eagles.
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