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Griffin praises beaten, battered Broncos

Corey Rosser, NZ Correspondent NRL.com Sat, Jun 21, 2014 - 9:21 PM

Dale Copley joins the Broncos' walking wounded on Saturday night. Copyright: Shane Wenzlick.

Despite dropping their first points in over a month, the Brisbane Broncos remained calm and confident in the aftermath of their 19-10 defeat to the Warriors.

Missing a host of first-choice players, the Broncos dominated the opening 20 minutes of each half, only to make key errors which allowed the Warriors to wrestle back the advantage.

"The first 20-25 minutes we were plugging away really well and defending well, but we spent the last 12 minutes of the first half with six or seven sets without the ball," Broncos coach Anthony Griffin said after Saturday night's defeat.

"The game swung on that and they got their 13 points.

"The effort was great, it was a tight game and both teams rode it for most of the game. 

"Unfortunately we opened up a few times, just before half time and that one try with [15] minutes to go, which cost us."

Already missing hooker Andrew McCullough and veteran stars Corey Parker and Justin Hodges, Brisbane were dealt another cruel blow when back-rower Matt Gillett was forced from the field after 12 minutes.

Both the Broncos and Queensland will be collectively holding their breath on Gillett's fitness, with Griffin unclear on the severity at this stage.

"He has a shoulder injury and couldn't go back on," Griffin said.

"We will have to wait until tomorrow and get some scans.

"He has got a lot of strength back in it now, so hopefully it is not too serious."

Apart from a 10-minute spell which saw the Warriors dominate possession and score twice through Ben Henry and Konrad Hurrell, Brisbane were the superior side in the first stanza.

They were gifted plenty of opportunities and field position in the second half too, thanks largely to nine Warriors errors and a string of penalties which saw the New Zealanders have both Suaia Matagi and Ngani Laumape placed on report.

"We were chasing in the second half," Griffin said.

"At 13-10 I thought we were a real chance of finishing positively, but we just weren't good enough today.

"Tonight was a real tough performance by us, the opposition probably can't play much better than that – I think they completed at 86% or something – and their key players were really good; Johnson, Mateo and Vatuvei.

"We can take a lot of heart out of that performance, we haven't got two points but it was a very committed performance."

Broncos captain Alex Glenn, who was raised in Auckland before shifting across the Tasman for his shot in Brisbane, said the Warriors' big men made all the difference on a cold night at Mount Smart Stadium.

"Obviously the Warriors build off players like Manu [Vatuvei] crashing the line.

"When we are letting them get some cheap metres they can build a lot of momentum.

"I think the Warriors built off that and were competing their sets well."