Winger Corey Oates has vowed the Brisbane Broncos will bounce back immediately from their poor performance against the New Zealand Warriors after coach Wayne Bennett brushed the 26-6 loss aside as the kind of display the club puts in each year post-State of Origin.
The Broncos were never in the contest and were out-muscled up front and dominated out wide for the duration.
"It was pretty disappointing. They out-played us and out-enthused us," Bennett said at the post-match press conference.
"We manage to have one of these games every year at the Broncos since I've been back. I've had them before when I was here in the past as well.
"You hate them when they come… but it is generally around this time of the year when it happens."
Bennett said that that while the Broncos didn't have that many players involved in State of Origin this year that it was still a "disrupted" period, which was only compounded by the withdrawals of James Roberts (Achilles) and Tevita Pangai jnr (hamstring) on the eve of the match.
Match Highlights: Broncos v Warriors - Round 18, 2018
Star back-rower Jaydn Su'A, who started the game in the centres, left the field in the 45th minute with an ankle injury and will have scans on Monday for the injury after leaving the dressing room in a moon boot and on crutches.
"He had an operation on an ankle last year and it looked as though he might have aggravated that again," Bennett said.
Bennett joked with Oates at the start of the press conference about whether he wanted to be introduced as the Broncos' new second-rower.
When asked whether he was looking for another back-rower during the presser, Bennett looked at Oates and said "that's what I brought him in for".
"I'm here," Oates interjected.
Bennett said to ask Oates if he was likely to play there against the Panthers on Friday night.
"If he gives me a go, why not," he replied. "Throw me in there."
The interplay between the pair perhaps suggested Bennett was trying to take the sting out of what had been a disappointing display.
On a serious note Oates, who was substituting in the presser for captain Darius Boyd who was seeing the club doctor after a minor knock, said Brisbane would turn their form around against the Panthers on Friday night.
"We've been playing really good football this year and we do bounce back from losses like this really well usually," he said.
"I'm sure we're just going to put that one behind us and come out and show everyone what we can do on Friday night.
"The boys are very disappointed but we just have to show everyone we can play the style of football the Broncos are known for."
Match: Broncos v Warriors
Round 18 -
Venue: Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
Bennett said it was too early to say if the Broncos, in eighth position on 22 points, had scuppered their chances of finishing in the top four as a result of the loss.
"We've got seven games to go and we are in a fairly good position. We are not totally out of the race and we've got to play a lot of those teams that are above us," the coach said.
Bennett said he was not concerned by Andrew McCullough throwing several punches after copping one in the throat from Chris Satae in the first half.
Both were sin binned for 10 minutes their actions and Bennett said McCullough's response was understandable.
Bennett said a knee injury to Joe Ofahengaue late in the game was "not too serious". He said Matt Gillett (neck) was still a few weeks off being right but that Pangai may be fit next week.