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Brisbane Broncos, decline, finals, defence, attack, Kevin Walters, Gorden Tallis, Darren Lockyer, Corey Parker, Steve Renouf, Adam Reynolds, Kurt Capewell, Pat Carrigan

“Shameful. Wingers. Smooth. Searching for the soul. Attitudes need to be adjusted.

Five great Broncos players and four former captains – they all know things are bad when the boot sinks in.

Gordon Tallis, Darren Lockyer, Corey Parker, Steve Renouf and coach Kevin Walters were all unstoppable as Brisbane inexplicably missed out on the finals.

The Broncos have been in the top eight since the 9th round and are in fourth place as of the 19th round.

But they have lost four of five since then and performances against the Hurricanes and Eels in the last twelve weeks have seen the Raiders secure their place in the top eight.

To play in the finals, Brisbane must beat the Dragons on Saturday and Canberra will have to hope they lose at bottom of the West Tigers on Sunday.

The Broncos can still sneak in if the Raiders beat them, but they’ll have to beat the Dragons to close the 43-point advantage over the Green Machine.

Here foxsports.com.au looks at how Brisbane’s season unfolded.

Patrick Carrigan, Payne Haas and Kevin Walters. Getty.Source: Getty Images

KVV spray that exposes ‘soft’ players

If the current Broncos’ soft underbelly wasn’t exposed enough in a 53-6 thrashing by the Eels, after the game, players were upset by Walters’ sprinkling.

Tallis was baffled that the players complained about being criticized following the humiliating defeat.

“I don’t have many answers at the moment, but we have to adjust our attitude,” Walter said in his post-match press conference.

Walters – who won five premierships with the Broncos – dropped a number of truth bombs in the sheds after the game.

“Those two are angry and just draw a line through them,” Tallis said.

If I knew and I was in that organization, I wouldn’t want to play with that guy.

After premiership-winning Broncos captain Walters called for his players to be removed, former team-mate Renoff mercilessly slammed them as “soft perks”.

Rugby league icons James Graham and Mark Geyer were also left out by Gobsa and the “entitled” Broncos were told to “face the music”.

Broncos hit by another shot | 02:57

There are rumors out of Brisbane that Walters has relied heavily on the tactical support of star players Adam Reynolds, Kurt Capewell and Pat Carrigan this season.

Reynolds has missed several games through injury, while Capewell and Carrigan have endured disappointing starts to the campaign and the latter has been suspended for the past month.

Paul Kent on NRL 360 said: “Carrigan is a big loss, not just in terms of what he brings as an individual, but in terms of leading the team and how he’s managed the team and coached him on the field with Adam Reynolds.”

Defensive failure

Brisbane scored 113 points against Melbourne and Parramatta in the last two weeks, marking the first time the club has scored 50 points in consecutive weeks.

The Broncos have conceded the fourth-fewest tries per game (3.2) in the opening 19 rounds, but rank 15th in the NRL (6.4) over the past five weeks.

Parker captained the club and made 347 appearances as they won the Premier League.

“It’s easy for the Brisbane Broncos and where they are and the amount of losses they’ve had in the last two weeks. . . And there’s no other way to be embarrassed,” Parker said on Fox League.

“Yes, they won and they beat the Eels in round 19, 36-14, but it was very slow.

“It was slowing down with some of the habits that we were seeing defensively. It was decreasing with the effort areas.

Brisbane’s attack has stalled and they have fallen in the NRL rankings in every offensive statistic.

Brisbane Broncos press release | 05:18

The Broncos were in the top eight for points (6th), attempts (7th), rushing yards (6th), linebackers (7th), tackles after 19 turnovers (8th).

But from rounds 20-24, they nosedived in every other statistic and ranked 12th or worse.

NRL greats Cooper Cronk and Mick Ennis both made finals for the Broncos on the back of their statistical glory.

“It’s almost impossible for the Brisbane Broncos, they have to put 43 points on the Dragons on Saturday night,” Cronk said on Fox League.

“I think they’re shot, I think they’re in big, big trouble. “I don’t know how Kevvy Walters is going to respond – he’s on life support,” Ennis said.

NRL icon Brian Fletcher says he only gets the season pass mark if he plays the last game.

“I think if they fall through the back door — and I hope they don’t — this is a fall year,” Fletcher said.

HAAS couldn’t fill Carrigan’s shoes

The Broncos have been without their best player, Pat Carrigan, for the last four games after being suspended by a hip-drop tackle.

Carrigan is back with the Dragons this week but has been unable to fill the void left by Payne Hass’ controversial contract negotiations.

Brisbane Slide have called on superstar striker Haas to stand down and prove he is worth the $1 million he is asking for in his next contract.

Phil Rothfield said on NRL 360 last week: “I’ll tell you who needs to stick a finger out, I’ll tell you who needs to show a bit in the front row.

Queensland legend Cameron Smith says the Broncos’ problem is more than just losing their star lock last month.

“I’m telling you right now… someone (Carrigan) is not going to come back into the team and fix these results,” Smith said on Channel 9.

“Five weeks ago they were fourth in this comp, a lot of people said no to Carrigan, that’s why they’re struggling.

“Kevvy Walters is very sad. There was a lot on the line for them (against the Eels) and now the Broncos have to rely on other results and go to Sydney to play the Dragons and try to win there.

Former Sharks coach Shane Flanagan believes the Broncos’ lack of experience cost them a place in last month’s finals.

“It’s a big loss that Carrigan hasn’t been there for the past few weeks,” Flanagan said.

“It’s about getting your best team in the paddock at the right time of the year, especially in the key spots.”

Lack of experience

Just one win separates the Broncos and Roosters but the clubs are worlds apart heading into the final round.

The Roosters are roaring into the playoffs on the back of a seven-game winning streak, while the Broncos are praying for an upset to punch their ticket.

While the Broncos rode their seven-game winning streak midway through the season, the Roosters were struggling – winning just three games in Rounds 7 and 17.

But the Tricolors are now playing their best footy at the business end, while the Broncos are at home.

“He can speak to the rookie team and the veteran team,” Bright Anasta told foxsports.com.au.

“The chickens didn’t panic, they timed their run and improved when it mattered most, but a rookie team puts all their eggs in one basket every week and wants everything to win.

“To maintain this level for a season only comes with experience and they are inexperienced.”

NRL premiership-winning coach Flanagan says the Roosters are getting some of their best players back from injury at the right time.

But he admitted there was a rift between Roosters coach Trent Robinson and Brisbane boss Walters.

“If a coach were to game plan their season, this is robo,” Flanagan said.

“They went through what they used before in terms of training and when they wanted to draw and show their draw and back or footwork at different stages of the year with their physical preparation.

“He’d have a plan for it, he’d done it a lot and he knew what he was doing. Robo has been through enough seasons and big matches at the end of the year to know that you have to be right at the end of the year when you can see the finish line.

I’m not sure how many times Kevvi did it, he did it a lot as a player, but when you do it as a coach it’s completely different.

The coming fall

Parker believes a disastrous start to the season will bring changes at Red Hill this summer.

Parker said the Broncos need to be tougher and pointed to Cowboys coach Todd Payton as an example of changing attitudes in the clubhouse.

“One thing I’ve learned playing in the NRL is you get what you deserve,” Parker said.

“The adjustment is to look at what the Cowboys have done. Todd Payne believes in his approach, he’s made the whole team tough and comfortable.

“Until the Broncos get their minds up and change some of their habits and standards, they’re going to keep messing around.

“There’s no doubt they can improve on where they finished last season, but even if they make the finals this year, they’ll end up being cannon fodder.

“If the Broncos lose the final, maybe that will prompt the club to make some changes.”

Lockyer, another former captain on the Broncos board, admitted it was time for the players to look in the mirror if the club misses the finals.

“I think there’s going to be a lot of soul-searching if that happens,” Lockyer told WWOS last week.

“A lot of people were talking about them being top four and I think that maybe went to their heads a little bit,” he said.

“They didn’t play the style of football they need to play to worry these top four teams and (against the Hurricanes) … it was really a disguise and a lesson in how to play football at a high level,” he said.

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