The Brisbane Broncos may not be anchoring the NRL ladder but after another crushing defeat to the Rabbitohs on Thursday night, familiar noises are coming out of Red Hill.
With favourite son and club legend Kevin Walters taking the reins of the club, it appears as though the 2020 mess has continued in 2021.
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Coming off the club’s first wooden spoon, the side is again 1-4 and languishing in 12th spot on the ladder.
Only a 24-0 win in round three against the Canterbury Bulldogs, one of the only clubs lower on the ladder than the Broncos, has saved the Broncos from a much more dire position.
But while Walters was talking up the Broncos being on “the right path” against Souths, despite a 35-6 loss, former NRL hardman Mark Carroll said the Broncos’ soft underbelly was showing.
It’s a criticism that was levelled at the Broncos all year in 2020, culminating in the club’s worst ever season and an unceremonious axe for former coach Anthony Seibold.
“I feel sorry for Kevvie,” Carroll said on Fox Sports’ NRL Tonight on Friday. “You just think of the photos of him being a larrikin guy with a big smile on his face but at the moment, he’s not happy.
“From a fans point of view, I wish some of these players would have a go and dig in for their coach. They’re not having a go. It’s not a quick fix, it’s going to take a long time, this year is going to be very very long. I just hope they don’t repeat the double wooden spoon.”
No smiles from Kevvie.Source:Getty Images
Thursday’s loss was the Broncos’ ninth loss by 20 points or more in the past two years, with an away losing streak dating back to Round 1 of 2020.
Despite yet another defeat, Walters unsurprisingly backed his side after Thursday’s loss to the Rabbitohs, but admitted the club’s resurrection would take longer than he first thought.
“I saw enough in different stages of the game (to know they’ve improved),” he said.
“South Sydney are a top four side, they finished with a preliminary final last year and have been very good for two or three years. So we’re not playing against mugs, these are the best teams in the competition in the last two weeks, along with Penrith next week which is our next opponent.
“We’re all learning … I’m still learning about the team, the players and the make-up of the side so that gives me confidence moving forward that we’re getting more knowledge about our players and how they react in different situations.
“We’re on the right path and we’ll get there, it might just take a little long than I anticipated.”
One of the big issues has been Anthony Milford and Carroll was asked what they would need to do to get the best out of the half.
Although Walters praised under fire half Anthony Milford as having “his best game of the year” to close out a week he said he wasn’t playing well enough for a new contract, the off-contract player was again slammed by Carroll for not playing his natural game.
Anthony Milford is copping it sweet.Source:Getty Images
It comes after fellow Fox Sports analyst Greg Alexander said Milford had “stole money from them for the last four years” as the axes continue to be sharpened.
“Put him in the forwards,” Carroll joked before continuing on. “Put him in the forwards, let him pack into a scrum and see how hard it is.
“Don’t worry about how much money he earns, he’s got so much natural talent, get the ball and take the defence on. All he wants to do is catch-pass all the time. Get on the back while the forwards are going forward. For the Broncos players, they need to look in the mirror, do your own job and it’ll come together.”
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