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Brisbane's season is already teetering precariously on the edge of the abyss and poor discipline on and off the field is costing them dearly.

Centre James Roberts's admission to coach Anthony Seibold that he lost control and drank to excess at a private party last Friday night after the loss to the Dragons is minor on the scale of off-field incidents that can beset the game, but has come in the wake of the costly suspensions of Payne Haas, Matt Lodge and Tevita Pangai jnr.

The photo that appeared of an allegedly inebriated Roberts, which was published by NewsCorp media outlets, may prove to be a godsend if it can be the catalyst for self-reflection and change.

The fact is Roberts has an ongoing Achilles injury that will require constant rehab on his behalf if he is to return to his best. Last year Broncos performance staff, while admiring Roberts’s toughness for playing through the injury, were frustrated he was not more diligent in doing the required exercises.

When Darius Boyd last week urged Roberts to get his body right and do all the calf drills that such an Achilles injury requires, it was a subtle shot across the bow to the NSW centre to get his act together.

Seibold has made it clear what the rules are about players in rehab and drinking.

Brisbane prop Matt Lodge.
Brisbane prop Matt Lodge. ©NRL Photos

"The playing group is very clear on that. As a collective group we know where Anthony stands and the standards he sets," hooker Andrew McCullough said on Sunday.

For Roberts's sake, and that of his team, he needs to embrace those standards.

Before a ball was kicked this season, Haas was suspended by the Broncos for four weeks for failing to satisfactorily co-operate with the NRL Integrity Unit, who were investigating an incident involving the young prop's family.

Lodge was then suspended for two games for a dangerous tackle on Cameron Munster against the Storm. Then Pangai copped another two weeks for a late shot on Roosters half Cooper Cronk.

The upshot of those three suspensions is Haas, Pangai and Lodge – three of the their most damaging middle forwards – will not play together until the round-seven clash with Cronulla.

In the cases of Lodge and Pangai it would be easy to say occasional suspensions for aggressive, intimidating forwards are part and parcel of rugby league.

However, their lack of control has cost their team when it could least afford it.

The Broncos missed 54 tackles against the Roosters last Thursday, one of their most ill-disciplined defensive efforts in recent times.

Lodge and Pangai, who missed 11 tackles between them, would do well to take a close look at Roosters counterpart Sioisiua Taukeiaho. He ran for 209 metres, including 72m post-contact, and made 22 tackles with one missed.

He simply ran hard, tackled hard and did his job. That is all Seibold wants from his forwards – not big statements that lead to penalties and suspensions.

In the case of Haas, his suspension was a lesson that a professional footballer cannot serve two masters. He was asked to be forthcoming with the Integrity Unit by his club, the one that signed him last year to a lucrative six-year deal, and chose not to do so.

Granted, he was in a difficult decision and put his family first but the old saying that "he who pays the piper calls the tune" applied to Haas. He is not a law unto himself. He is an integral member of a club and team.

The Broncos have worked their backsides off under Seibold over the past four months but they need to be careful the privileged environment they work in does not lead to complacency.

Brisbane forward Tevita Pangai jnr.
Brisbane forward Tevita Pangai jnr. ©Scott Davis/NRL Photos

When you approach Brisbane’s Red Hill base it appears as a shimmering citadel on the horizon, but when it comes to delivering premierships such an edifice is nothing more than a mirage.  Up close it is a multimillion-dollar facility that has everything a professional footballer could want, including a sleeping room.

Premierships are won in October after building the foundations for success through 24 rounds, not won by the team with the most impressive training base. Melbourne do not revel in the building they are housed in.

They wax lyrical about a pre-season manual work program for new recruits where they dig holes, build fences and toil in the hot sun.

The Broncos are fortunate to have Boyd, McCullough, Matt Gillett and Alex Glenn  in their leadership group. That quartet will no doubt be reinforcing this week what it means to be a Bronco and how what they dished up as a collective against the Roosters was unacceptable.

It is vital the Broncos, with just one win from four games, ensure discipline on and off the field is at the highest level in the next month because the Wests Tigers, Raiders, Sharks and Rabbitohs will be applying the blowtorch.

The views in this article do not necessarily express the opinions of the NRL, ARLC, NRL clubs or state associations.

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