Broncos coach Bennett lost for answers
Brisbane coach Wayne Bennett admits he's struggling to understand why his team played so poorly against the Panthers in their Round 20 NRL Telstra Premiership loss on Friday night.
The Broncos were out-enthused by Penrith at Suncorp Stadium, with the home side looking a shadow of the team that were once premiership favourites.
Bennett's men struggled to build any momentum, finishing the game with only 42 per cent of possession and just one line break – four less than the Panthers.
Brisbane's lack of purpose when they had the football made it near impossible for their forwards to bend Penrith's line, with the Broncos running for a meagre 1,226m compared to the Panthers' 1,693m.
To Penrith's credit, they made the most of Brisbane's struggles to run out 31-12 winners – a result that left many of the Suncorp Stadium faithful leaving early.
It was a result that surprised Bennett, with the master coach conceding that he thought his team had turned up to play.
"I'm not happy, but I'm not disappointed," Bennett said.
"We were really good last week and there's no reason why we couldn't have been good tonight.
"Penrith turned up to play, and I thought we did as well, but we only did it in stages.
"We turned up here tonight and it just didn't happen. I don't know why it didn't happen."
The Broncos are a team known for their strong ball security, but this was far from the case on Friday night as they went on to make 11 errors – many in their own half.
The class of young Penrith halves Bryce Cartwright and Nathan Cleary compounded these mistakes, with the pair combining to force five goal-line dropouts.
This was the complete opposite to what the Broncos' halves managed, with Anthony Milford and Ben Hunt failing to force one goal-line dropout and creating very little in attack.
Bennett chose not to blame his halves, instead moving his focus to his side's poor ball security and lack of pressure.
He said building pressure on the opposition is the key to the Broncos rediscovering their try-scoring ability.
"Our ball control was a key issue tonight, as well as the repeat sets that Penrith managed to receive. They were the main factors," he said.
"We didn't complete a lot of sets and it probably would have ended up being six or more repeat sets in their favour.
"We didn't get one and they would have probably scored three of their tries off repeat sets.
"It's about building pressure and we didn't do that. It's absolutely paramount to build pressure, especially in a game where both teams are pretty equal.
"We've scored a lot of tries this year, but there have been periods where we haven't built pressure and that's impacted our ability to score tries. That's where our game is at."