Capitulation underlines Broncos’ disturbing trend
SAM Thaiday says the Broncos must find renewed enthusiasm after suffering yet another second-half fadeout - this time in their season-opening loss to Manly on Friday night.
Once again for Brisbane, the 22-14 loss at home was a tale of two halves.
The side looked every bit a title contender in the opening 40 minutes, with Justin Hodges tearing up the Manly right side and laying on tries for Matt Gillett and Lachlan Maranta to give the Broncos a 14-6 lead at the break.
But after appearing likely to pile on 40 points, they came out looking flat in the second half.
Manly halfback Daly Cherry-Evans twisted over from short distance when he had no right to, before forcing Jack Reed to cough up the ball in his own 10m and hand David Williams a try on a platter.
Both tries were soft and exemplified Brisbane's second-half capitulation but it was the stats that told the true story.
The Broncos completed 17 of 21 sets in the first half before poor composure led them to push silly passes and complete just eight of 16 sets in the second.
Coach Anthony Griffin said conditioning was not the side's downfall, rather its inability to hold on to the ball forced the players to do a mountain of defensive work in the back end of the game.
Once again the stats sheet told the story - his team made 135 tackles in the first 40 and 181 in the second, and missed five tackles in the opening half and a whopping 21 after the break.
What will worry Griffin is that second-half fadeouts have become a common occurrence for his unit.
In the Broncos' past nine matches, they have given up half-time leads on five occasions and "won" the second half only four times. In the same time period they have conceded 110 second-half points and scored 73.
Of those four second-half "victories", three came when the game was out of reach or appeared all but over - in their 42-22 thumping at the hands of the Eels last season, their 16-6 round-25 loss to the Sea Eagles and their 33-16 semi-final loss to the Cowboys. Also, two came against then-bottom two sides - the Eels and Panthers.
Thaiday and Griffin cut forlorn figures as they faced the post-match press conference on Friday night and many Broncos players declined to talk to the media afterwards.
Griffin said they had "rolled over" and he could not find any positives. Thaiday was equally critical, describing their second-half performance as "soft" and saying a round-one loss would not normally affect the side, but the result had taken a toll.
"We have to find a bit of enthusiasm to come out of the sheds with," Thaiday said.
"We were out-enthused. They came out at a million miles an hour and we weren't ready for it.
"That's something we really need to work on, especially if we've come into half-time with a great lead like that and after all the hard work we did."
TALE OF TWO HALVES
The Broncos' past nine matches - scores at half-time and full-time
Broncos 6 Titans 6; Titans 16 Broncos 10
Eels 30 Broncos 6; Eels 42 Broncos 22
Broncos 6 Raiders 4; Raiders 28 Broncos 13
Broncos 14 Bulldogs 6; Bulldogs 22 Broncos 14
Broncos 12 Storm 6; Storm 19 Broncos 18
Sea Eagles 16 Broncos 0; Sea Eagles 16 Broncos 6
Panthers 6 Broncos 0; Broncos 19 Panthers 12
Cowboys 18 Broncos 0; Cowboys 33 Broncos 16
Broncos 14 Sea Eagles 6; Sea Eagles 22 Broncos 14