Rookie Brisbane prop Jarrod Wallace might only be 21 and have just seven first-grade games behind him, but he makes a lot of down-to-earth sense when he talks about the possible way out of trouble for the Broncos.
Wallace says there is nothing too scientific about it and that it is more to do with attitude and hard work than anything else.
“The mood among the players is still good,” Wallace told NRL.com. “You have to keep it positive at all times. You’ve got to keep your head together and stay focused and keep working with each other and for the team.
“You can’t allow yourself to get distracted. You have to try to stick to your routine. We haven’t really spoken a lot about what has happened in the last couple of games, because we know we have to get better results than that.
“The losses (to the Warriors and Canberra) have been expensive. There were a few games earlier in the season where we played to our potential, but we didn’t play to our potential in the last couple of games.”
Brisbane will play Wests Tigers at Suncorp Stadium on Monday night to close Round 14 of the NRL. It will be the first time the Broncos have played at their home ground since their 56-18 loss to the Warriors in Round 12.
That was the first time the Broncos had conceded 50 points or more in a match in Queensland, and coach Anthony Griffin described the performance as “embarrassing”.
Alex Glenn, who was the stand-in captain for that game with regular captain Sam Thaiday and several other players unavailable because of State of Origin commitments, said the Broncos were “ashamed of our efforts out there".
Glenn went on to say: “Like ‘Hook’ (Griffin) said, we have to look at ourselves in the mirror and be honest about our efforts. I put my hand up and admit there were areas of my game I was not proud of. I need to work extra hard and earn some respect back for this jersey.”
The Broncos came out for their next game against Canberra at Canberra Stadium last Monday and were beaten again, 30-18. They never looked like winning, but they did keep trying. The Raiders have been very hard to beat at their home ground this season.
Origin representatives Thaiday, Justin Hodges, Corey Parker and Matt Gillett all played against Canberra and will all be there against the Tigers as well, but Wallace said the rest of the Broncos can’t just leave it to the high-profile players to dig the team out of trouble.
“The game against the Warriors obviously wasn’t one of our best,” he said. “No-one ever wants to get done by 50. Against Canberra, there were a few little periods where we sort of dropped off a bit and you just can’t afford to do that.
“You have to concentrate for the full 80 minutes against teams like Canberra – they put a couple of tries on us when we dropped off a bit.
“Our goal is to win every week. We want to win just as much when our Origin players are out as when they’re in, because it’s an opportunity for the players who come in to replace them to show that they’re up to it.
“This week has been a really good one at training. Everyone’s been preparing really well, so we’re going into the game against the Tigers with a positive attitude.”
As much as the Broncos have struggled this season, they are still in front of the Tigers on the competition table. The Broncos are in 11th place, with five wins and eight losses, while the Tigers are 15th, with four wins and eight losses.
The Tigers have had the first of their byes, while the Broncos will have the first of theirs next weekend.
A long injury list contributed heavily to the Tigers losing seven games in a row before they ground out narrow wins over North Queensland (22-20) and Penrith (20-18) at their past two starts.
The win over the Panthers was particularly encouraging, because they were playing away from home and were down 18-4 at one stage.
The Tigers still have a lot of players out, but Wallace says the fact they have managed to win their past two games despite being down on troops tells the Broncos they are going to be very hard to beat again.
“We know they’ll be on a high,” he said. “Their confidence will be up, and it will be a big test for us. They’ve still got some great players in their side, like Benji Marshall and Braith Anasta.
“But we’re back at home, and we don’t like losing at home, so we’ll be trying to make that work for us.”