Corey Parker labeled the Broncos an embarrassment heading into the final round, leaving their playoff hopes on thin ice after scoring more than 100 points in the past two weeks.
The Broncos now have to beat the Dragons in the final round and hope the Raiders don’t win their final two games on points difference or Brisbane will miss out on the finals after finishing in the top four in round 19.
“It’s easy for the Brisbane Broncos and where they are and the sheer volume they’ve lost in the last two weeks. . . And there’s no other way to be embarrassed,” Parker said on Fox League.
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“60 points against the Melbourne Storm last week and 53 the week after.
“One thing I know in the NRL is you get what you deserve and when the Broncos do well at various points in the year I go back to the Titans game in Round 18 where they start to lose their grip.
“Yes they won and beat the Eels in round 19, 36-14, but then it was going down.
“It was slowing down with some of the habits that we were seeing defensively. It was decreasing with certain areas of effort.
“They’re off on Els. They played tigers and chickens and fell with the knights. Melbourne have given them a full bath and will be their litmus test.
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“The buzz from the Broncos after that Melbourne game was, well, we’ve got a week to look around and see where we are.
“Well, they came up against the Els and he had 31 points in the first half. So that shows and is a testament to where they are.
“So when some ex-players come out and say some things because it’s our job, some people might get a little heated, but I don’t see any evidence of that.
“What I’m seeing is evidence. He scored 189 points in five games. They average 37.8 points per game.
“This is from a team that once sat fourth going back to round 19.
“So there’s no doubt that as a club and as individuals you’ve gotten ahead of yourself and you’re going to be taught the hardest lessons in the NRL very quickly.”
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Gordon Tallis believes the Broncos have been guilty of reading their own hype, but he still thinks they’re ahead of schedule with their rebuild.
“I guess they’re ahead of where I thought they’d be,” Tallis said.
“At the beginning of the year, nobody said they were going to play finals in football. So they went on that run and got to all four.
“They were overachieving. They were training on the road and I saw how smooth they were training.
“They’ve been training hard under KevV and I guess they’re running out of batteries a bit.
“You look at Payne Hass. You look at Kobo landing. The guys didn’t do the job.
“That’s why I’ve seen a team that takes a break and plays tired, because they had a lot of pressure to play their final game, and once they got to a certain point, they thought the pressure was off.
But when you play for the Broncos, it never goes away and I think they learn a valuable lesson.
“They’ve got an extra week, but now it’s out of their hands, so that’s the disappointing part.
“Six weeks ago I was wondering if they were making a lot of progress here. It’s weird if you finish four than you were a few years ago because it takes a while to turn it around.
“The players dropped the ball a bit. It’s an attitude.”
Tallis believes the Broncos are struggling without their best players on the pitch and will need to be at full strength against the Dragons to have a chance at the finals.
“Carrigan will come back and clean it up a little bit,” Tallis said.
“It didn’t help to lose Adam Reynolds. But they are not excuses. Losing both to HI. Flegel and Payne Haas, who I think he was trying to go and lead, got a little out of the way.
“So with those guys not playing the way they were, it’s a young team over there and if you look at their spine against a Parramatta side that needs to win and they’re on fire and we saw what they did against Penrith. They knocked Penrith off the park in the first 20 minutes. They blew a good side off the park.
Tallis believes the Broncos have shown the NRL how difficult it is to succeed without their best players and will want everyone back in Round 25.
“The players don’t have it,” Tallis said.
“When you lose Adam Reynolds. All hands must hope to return to the ship (from the dragons).
“I thought they overachieved, and when the players were down, you saw where they were a few years ago. They couldn’t finish the job.
Now they are starting to finish the job and want everyone on board. Everyone on the ship needs it. That’s how tough the NRL is.
“Take Cameron Munster from the Melbourne Storm and what do they do? See where they go.
“You just can’t compete. The NRL is tough. And when you have to play Melbourne, now the best in the competition and Parramatta pulled the whip, so it’s tough.
But they are where I thought they would be.