Dearden debut gives Broncos plenty to dream on
Brisbane coach Anthony Seibold says the NRL glamour club can't afford to think about premierships as they are forced to put their faith in teen half Tom Dearden.
The Broncos were given a reminder of how far they are off the pace after being thumped 38-6 by Wayne Bennett's South Sydney on Thursday night.
The pre-game hype was dominated by headlines about the two coaches meeting their former sides for the first time but it was the Rabbitohs who handled the occasion the better as they ran out six-tries-to-one winners.
If the Broncos are searching for a silver lining - they found it in rookie halfback Dearden who stood up to the many questions asked of him in his debut game.
While he did not come up with a big play or get a chance to showcase his considerable attacking talents, he was calm, composed, marshalled his side with the confidence of a seasoned player and immediately got back to his feet every time he got knocked to the ground.
Regular No.7 Kodi Nikorima sat out the match as he gets set to depart the club for the Warriors - a move which is expected to happen over the weekend or early next week.
The Broncos' fanbase is one of the most demanding in the league and has come to expect success.
At 2-6, they are staring down the barrel of missing the finals for the fifth time in their history - and just the third since the introduction of the top eight.
Asked if his side could be premiership contenders with an 18-year-old running the show, Seibold said it was the furthest thing from his mind.
"My focus isn't on that, my focus is on finding some real improvements," Seibold said.
"Tom was real solid on debut, he's the best half we've got at our club at the moment.
"We've got to back him and trust him. I wouldn't put him in if I didn't think he could do the job.
"I think it's ridiculous for us to think about anything else other than improving against Manly next week."
Seibold said the club had chosen to invest in youth - with nine of their 17-man squad which faced the Rabbitohs 23-years or younger - and some growing pains were bound to occur.
"We showed some real glimpses," Seibold said.
"Believe it or not tonight was our best defensive display as far as effective contact, I think we were at 92 per cent.
"We made more tackle breaks than Souths tonight, we missed less tackles but we were on the wrong side of the scoreline."