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How one Broncos roster fix only exposes another fatal flaw

After their first 58-point, club-crushing loss last September, the Broncos resolved to rectify the glaring issue in their talent-laden roster.

Some of the biggest earners on their books – Anthony Milford, Darius Boyd, Andrew McCullough and Matt Gillett – were not performing anywhere near the expectations their pay packets warranted.

By the end of this season, through retirement (Boyd and Gillett) and a release to Newcastle (McCullough), only Milford will remain, freeing up funds to retain what is rightly heralded as a rare generation of talented juniors.

That same crop of talent plumbed a new low on Thursday night.

In a record 59-0 trouncing from the Roosters, Brisbane's starting pack had just 100 games to their name.

Regular starters Joe Ofahengaue (91 games) and Matt Lodge (60) added more experience but little starch off the bench.

Sidelined stars David Fifita, Tevita Pangai Jnr and Kotoni Staggs bring limitless potential but not the years of know-how that is so sorely needed as injured captain Alex Glenn does.

The luckless Jack Bird has both along with mounting concerns over his long-term fitness on a lucrative contract.

Seibold: Demoting senior players not the answer

Between them Boyd, McCullough and Gillett combined for almost 800 games of NRL experience, but could not ride out the 58-0 finals embarrassment at the hands of Parramatta.

Through injury and demotion – from the captaincy or starting side – Brisbane's biggest headache out of the club's post-season review was showing signs of easing.

Underperforming big earners were on their way out.

The necessary contract upgrades for David Fifita, Kotoni Staggs and Patrick Carrigan become easier to manage despite rival clubs circling.

And to be fair, most every budding Bronco from Payne Haas to Matt Lodge, Cory Paix to Jake Turpin, and Xavier Coates to Tesi Niu has had a lucrative rival offer dangled trying to lure them from Red Hill.

But in the wake of Brisbane's generational change a serious lack of nous, composure and leadership emerges.

How the club's upheaval could have been staggered isn't an easy one to pin down, as players that have moved on recently - including Josh McGuire, James Roberts, Kodi Nikorima, Tom Opacic and Jaydn Su'A - haven't set the world alight as soon as they left.

And now a Luke Keary field goal ensures Thursday's 10 conceded tries, 44 missed tackles and 1200 less running metres occupy an unwanted place in Broncos history.

Former captain Boyd (33), his successor Glenn (32), outside back Jordan Kahu (29) and Thursday's signing Ben Te'o are the only players over the age of 26 in Anthony Seibold's squad.

Up front there is not a single forward in that sweet spot between 25-30 with more than 100 games to their name.

Te'o is 33, hasn't played a game of league in six years and until the Roosters thrashing was said to be a few weeks away from 'rugby league fit'.

Seibold could give Coates a shot next week

According to the Broncos he is eligible for selection against Manly on Thursday under the NRL's coronavirus protocols, and may yet offer a short-term fix to the Broncos dearth of edge options.

His new team-mates got to re-live the Roosters thrashing in excruciating detail on Friday morning.

Their next few weeks against Manly and Newcastle, without Fifita, Pangai jnr, Turpin and Bird loom as a microcosm for Brisbane's bigger picture.

From rounds seven through nine they face the Titans, Warriors and Bulldogs.

Despite conceding 93 points in their past two outings, the Broncos are still 2-2 in 2020, and on balance can be 5-4 by round 10.

Short-term pain for a young, talented roster is almost inevitable, as Seibold was at pains to point out on Friday.

“The two times we have been towelled up [in the past two weeks], it's been men against boys, but the reality is we’ve got the youngest team in the comp," he said.

"We are trying to build something sustainable ... we’ve got a young team and this is part of their journey and their development.

“It was most disappointing because tonight, it was about going out and representing the club, doing your jobs and we fell apart when the furnace was put on us."

How deep the scars run into the long-term is the risk Brisbane are taking.