The Brisbane Broncos believe they can easily improve on their horror 34-12 opening round loss to the Dragons in coming weeks, while coach Wayne Bennett and captain Darius Boyd have backed controversial prop Matt Lodge to benefit from getting his return to the Telstra Premiership out of the way.
Brisbane stuttered along with a sub 50 percent completion rate for a large slab of the match, gifting their opponents a mountain of quality ball.
Lodge, who has been in the headlines in the lead-up to his NRL return, had an unhappy outing. Some strong carries and team-high 137 metres were countered by a high-tackle penalty and a few errors, including a pass that resulted in former Bronco Ben Hunt scoring a 50m intercept try.
The halves pairing of Anthony Milford and Kodi Nikorima also failed to have any impact in attack but Bennett blamed the completion rate and loss of the forward battle for that.
"That first half was poor. We had no momentum, couldn't get anything. Our ball control was 45 percent at half time," Bennett said.
"The halves can't play if the other guys aren't doing their job.
Match Highlights: Dragons v Broncos - Round 1; 2018
"From our point of view, there was a lot of dropped ball, [poor defence] came on top of that. At one stage, they had two tries and 20-odd points with penalty goals."
Of Lodge, he added: "You have to start somewhere. We got him on the footy field tonight and got him playing football.
"He just needs to play football, he played football tonight. First game back in the NRL for three years. It's the best thing that's happened to him."
Boyd described the game as "clunky" but said it would count for little moving forward.
"Dropped ball. Execution was poor. You're not going to win any games like that. I'm not losing any confidence out of it," Boyd said.
"In patches we defended well. We threw on some good shapes, in patches again, but we just didn't have the ball for long enough in the right parts of the field."
Asked about the influence of his former teammate Hunt, Boyd was happy to give the No.7 credit where due.
"He played well. He kicked well. He was in everything," Boyd said.
"He was their chief playmaker and scored a nice try for them too."