Bennett backs inexperienced Broncos
Brisbane Broncos coach Wayne Bennett says his young side will learn from their 19-18 loss against the Wests Tigers, with many of the 'Baby Broncos' having only played a handful of games – if any at all.
The Broncos struggled for field position all night, greatly missing the six players out of the match on State of Origin duty.
Eighteen-year-old Jaydn Su'A made his debut alongside fellow debutant, 20-year-old Tevita Pangai Jnr, and the Broncos also had 20-year-olds Joe Ofahengaue and Jai Arrow in their side.
The young Broncos forward pack were no match for the experience of the Tigers' big men, but Bennett says they will be better for it.
"The other team turned up to play. The Tigers dominated the field position and ball control. That gave them a huge advantage," Bennett said.
"I'm not disappointed in them. I always knew it was a tough ask for us. It's a great experience for our young guys.
"I wasn't disappointed with anybody. There are always doubts in your mind about what they can and can't do. I thought the Tigers might have been off but they were on tonight."
Wests Tigers may have been on, but Brisbane's halves were not, with both Anthony Milford and Ben Hunt having forgettable games when their side needed it most.
The Broncos' kicking game was sub-par all night, with both Hunt and Milford miscuing a number of kicks in general play.
Coach Bennett laid no blame for the loss on Brisbane's halves, despite Hunt missing a field goal late in the match that would have forced golden point.
"No one's perfect so I'm not asking them to be. The effort was there," he said.
"We were on the back foot all night so it makes it really hard for them to show us what they've got.
"The Tigers dominated the field position and ball control. That gave them a huge advantage."
The Origin period now looms as a very testing time for Brisbane, with the Broncos having to cope with six talented players out of their usual side.
Losing Josh McGuire, Corey Oates, Sam Thaiday, Matt Gillett, Corey Parker and Darius Boyd results in over 1,150 club games of experience being taken out of Brisbane's 17.
Bennett believes the effort was there on Friday night but concedes that it was always going to be tough without a third of their side.
"I'm not disappointed with the effort," he said.
"The boys missing bring so much belief and confidence.
"It makes it hard when you have a third of your team out and two or three guys playing for the first time.
"The guys aren't used to playing with each other and that's why you don't want to do games like this too often."