Despite the 31-20 loss to the Cowboys on Friday night, Broncos coach Wayne Bennett says he will walk away from 1300SMILES Stadium a content coach, knowing his side did all it could to secure the two points.
The Broncos stormed out of the gates, playing 15 of the most impressive minutes by an NRL team all season, but were roped in by a near-perfect Cowboys side that completed at 92 per cent.
Momentum and the scoreboard were to Brisbane’s liking until prop Adam Blair had a case of butterfingers, dropping the easiest of passes from a teammate off the restart.
Cowboys sensation Michael Morgan would score on the subsequent play and the Cowboys were all of a sudden back in the contest at 12-6.
While turnovers proved costly for the visitors, Bennett could not fault the intent of his men.
"I was more than pleased with us. They [Cowboys] were on their game and they played really well and I'm not walking away from here disappointed with what we did," he said post-game.
"Little things like that [Adam Blair turnover] cost us. We did three of those at different stages down that end of the field and it cost us 14 points. They didn’t turn any of them over so that was a huge advantage."
It was a night in which the Broncos did a lot right but were bereft of their eighth win of the season: Darius Boyd added to last week’s fine comeback, Anthony Milford continued his upward trend of play, and their attack showed some new things.
The impact of a quality ball-playing fullback like Darius Boyd on the Broncos’ attacking raids is evident, with shifts that have become instantly sharper and more structured over the last couple of weeks.
Boyd stamped his print on the game when he put Jack Reed through a gap down the left six minutes in. The play would result in a try to Lachlan Maranta, but Boyd wasn’t done there.
His support play was excellent early in the contest as Brisbane worked well in tight quarters down the left fringe, and finishing on 156 run metres and 10 tackles – a big tackle count for a fullback.
"I was pleased [with Darius]. I said Darius would take a month and he’ll get better every week and he was better this week than last week," Bennett said.
"We are developing a squad right now and we need a squad and are trying to re-build a squad, and we know the quality of players are there but there are other guys are putting their hands up.
"We’re going to need that before the year is out and I’m really pleased with [the performance of the young Broncos].
"They are getting valuable game time for young players that we need to know what they can do and what they can’t do and they were all good tonight, they didn’t let us down."