Broncos halves not to blame: Boyd
Broncos fullback Darius Boyd has come to the defence of Brisbane's halves, rubbishing the criticism that has been directed at both Ben Hunt and Anthony Milford during the team's poor run of form.
The Broncos' halves pairing are under extreme pressure to perform when Brisbane play the Roosters at Allianz Stadium on Thursday night, with a loss likely to ruin any chance of a top-four finish for Wayne Bennett's men.
It's a task that has now been made even harder by the loss of Test forwards Sam Thaiday and Josh McGuire through suspension.
Brisbane confirmed on Monday that the club would not be contesting McGuire's dangerous contact charge or Thaiday's grade one dangerous throw charge, instead taking the early guilty plea for both – meaning that the Broncos will again be understrength.
Brisbane haven't had a full-strength team take the field since their Round 11 one-point loss to the North Queensland Cowboys two months ago.
The Broncos have lost five of their last seven clashes since that match against the Cowboys.
"It's not the halves' fault," a frustrated Boyd told NRL.com
"It's funny how everyone bags the halves. You need a full team to play well to get the results. It's pretty sad that everyone blames them.
"At the end of the day, we're all accountable because we are all professional footballers.
"Our enthusiasm, motivation and effort have all been down.
"The little things haven't been where they are meant to be and we know it's up to us to turn that around.
"No one else can change it for us and it starts for the 17 that take the field for us on Thursday.
"Our communication on the field hasn't been good enough and we're getting frustrated.
"We trained really well on Monday and we need to turn that into a good performance on Thursday."
The Broncos trained hard on Monday, with defensive coach Stephen Kearney putting the whole side through an intense session.
Brisbane's squad walked off the Red Hill paddock full of confidence – something that has been missing in recent weeks.
Winger Corey Oates was perhaps the happiest to be working hard on the training track after a horrid game against the Panthers.
Oates made three errors and struggled under the high ball all night, and Penrith clearly targeted the 21-year-old when they saw his head drop after his first mistake.
Self-confidence is something Oates will learn to deal with as he matures, and Boyd, who has spent a fair chunk of his representative career on the wing, said Oates's rapid rise is quite remarkable for a player who was originally a second-row forward.
"Oates is still learning to play wing so it's pretty remarkable that he's already played Origin and will probably play for Australia at the end of the year," Boyd said.
"He's a young kid that hasn't played a lot of games. The Penrith game wasn't his best, but against South Sydney he was probably our best player.
"He'll learn from that. He trained really on Monday so he just needs to keep his talk up and be ready to play come Thursday."