Brisbane coach Kevin Walters must fix the Broncos’ terrible siestas in the second half after watching his side sensationally surrender 34:18 in the loss to the Cowboys at Dolphin Stadium on Saturday night.
The delight of Alex Glenn’s testimonial against Bronco’s skipper turned to tears as Brisbane missed an 18-6 lead at halftime and lost five attempts in the second half in a worrying relapse to last season’s repeated fades.
Brisbane had a terrible habit of starting strong in games before losing the plot after the break, and their lack of mental toughness raised their heads again when the Cowboys scored 28 unanswered points.
Watching in front of 9932 fans, Walters’ blood pressure would have risen with every mistake in the second half as cowboys Michael Morgan and Jake Clifford cut in half and staged a nice comeback in the Queensland derby trial.
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Brisbane enters the Premier League in 2021 as a wooden spoon. If they want to climb out of the kennel, Walters accepts that they have to close the defensive holes for their season opener against the eels on March 12th.
« We had to draw a line in the sand to find out where we are, so we found out where we are, » said Walters.
« There is a lot to work on but I am confident that the Broncos will have a good season. »
With Jamayne Isaako in close contact with the full-back, the Broncos stormed out of the blocks, and the Kiwi test star made two attempts in the first 14 minutes to bring Brisbane 12-0 up.
And when Brodie Croft overtook Jake Turpin with an excellent pass around the corner just before the break, the Broncos looked completely under control at 18: 6.
Apparently down and out, the Cowboys gradually built up the pressure, with Kyle Feldt (50th minute) and Valentine Holmes (54th) trying to keep North Queensland within reach.
Morgan then terrorized the Broncos, beating Mitch Dunn (59th minute) to give the Cowboys a 22:18 lead before burying Brisbane with two late attempts.
After three bottom four placements, the new Cowboys trainer Todd Payten is determined to achieve a fresher attack and defense advantage. He was thrilled with his team’s ability to keep their nerves under pressure when slut Jake Granville ignited a counter-lap in the second half with his renewed thrust around the backpacks.
« They are encouraging signs, » he said. « I’ve seen a bit of faith and resilience and they stuck to it. It’s a good sign. That wasn’t one of our strengths last year, but we rolled down the park well and continued to put pressure on them. »
Broncos duo Tom Flegler (shoulder) and Jesse Arthars (ankle) sustained injuries while John Asiata was reported in the 26th minute for a hoist.
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