Broncos can dig themselves out of hole again: Boyd
They dug their way out of an early-season hole last year and Brisbane captain Darius Boyd has outlined how his side has a shovel at the ready to do it all again.
There is an aspect of déjà vu with the situation the 12th-placed Broncos are in as they prepare for their round-six clash with the New Zealand Warriors in Auckland. They'd won two from five last year heading into a game against the Sydney Roosters and many pundits had written them off.
In the pre-season Boyd told NRL.com that was one of his biggest tests as a captain. He said a decision was made to release the shackles and allow the side's playmakers to play what they see and utilise their strengths.
Brisbane thrashed the Roosters 32-8 in round six, went on a six-game winning streak and finished third on the ladder.
Boyd said his team was ready to extricate themselves from another precarious situation, only with a different focus.
"When you look for positives, we were in exactly the same position last year and we managed to get ourselves out of it," Boyd told NRL.com.
"Last year our early games were pretty tight. We weren't leaking too many points but we just weren't scoring many so before [the Roosters win] we focussed on just using the ball and playing what you see.
"That is still in focus this year, but this time it is a bit different. This year I believe it will come down to our defence and we'll win any game from here on the back of that. We won the Tigers game a couple of weeks ago on the back of our defence.
"In key moments we need to step up in defence against the Warriors whether that be locking them down their end and forcing them to make a long kick or with tryline defence on the back of good decisions and talk."
The Broncos have previously been in the same situation, or worse, after five rounds.
Aside from 2017, in 2013 the Broncos also won two of their first five and finished 12th.
In 2007 and 2010 the club won one from five and came eighth and 10th respectively. The 1999 season is famous in Broncos history, when they lost their first five and still scraped into the top eight.
The lessons are stark though. Slow starts to the season cost Brisbane, largely due to the State of Origin period where the club has often lost a suite of players. The Broncos' success in reaching the finals 25 times in 30 seasons has been forged on the back of banking plenty of competition points before Origin hits them hard.
"It has been an indifferent start for us this year. Our game against the Knights was a lot better [than the Gold Coast Titans loss] but wasn't good enough," Boyd said.
"We just need to stay positive, stay together and really simplify our game.
"The best teams at the moment are doing the little things well and we need to be like that. When we beat the Cowboys we scored a heap of points, everyone was energetic and we were on the ball. We know it is there. It is just making sure we turn up on Saturday with that same mindset."