Matt Lodge said he had been "hurting for days" after the humiliating 59-0 loss to the Roosters and the Brisbane prop conceded the players must face the reality they "aren’t as good as what we think".
Lodge was brutally honest about his own and the team’s performance.
At one point in the Zoom interview on Sunday he was asked to wind it up by a Broncos official inside the bubble so Payne Haas could take his turn to be interviewed, but Lodge insisted he wanted to take every question and face the music.
Lodge said he and the players were "heartbroken" after such an inept display and fully aware they had let down everyone from the coaching staff to the sponsors and fans in the record-breaking loss.
He was just as hard on himself.
"My football hasn’t been good enough the last couple of weeks. The team hasn’t been good enough either. The performance we put out was shit, there’s no two ways about it," he said.
"The city, the club and everyone that has gone before us deserves better.
Match Highlights: Broncos v Roosters
"There is only one way to pick yourself up and that is for every individual to look in the mirror and realise how much a result like that has cost them.
"We’ve been living through it the last couple of days. It has been relentless, the scrutiny that has come from that game.
"No one walked off that field after being embarrassed 59-nil and felt happy about losing like that. Everyone has been hurting for days.
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"Then you get doubled down on by players that were successful at this club and they have every right to throw that criticism because it is their club as well. They created the Brisbane Broncos as the club it is."
Lodge said the talent was there and the youth of the team was not an excuse for the performance or the lack of leadership.
"Some people have been throwing criticism about the 'young' thing but that doesn’t matter. If you are here you are an adult. You are full-time and you are required to do the job," he said.
"We need to be better. We weren’t good enough against the Roosters. We weren’t good enough against Parra [in the 34-6 round three loss] and we weren’t good enough against Parra last year [in a 58-0 finals loss]," he said.
"We had older players in that game, but the result hasn’t changed.
"I think maybe across the board some people aren’t as good as what we think and we’ve got a fair bit of work to do to be a better team."
Lodge said he included himself in that category.
"The media pumps up our forward pack and says, for example, 'they are the best young pack in the comp' … but we haven’t ticked any boxes, we haven’t achieved anything or won any comps like they did in the '90s," he said.
"The Roosters are the best forward pack in the comp because they have won the comp the last two years. We have got a lot of work to do before we look into that 'best pack in the comp'."
The Broncos have received an official warning from the NRL for their players not fulfilling their media obligations after the loss. Lodge insisted the players did not receive any request to do their interviews.
"We walked off filthy and showered but no request came through. No one said 'no we are not talking'. We are not hiding behind anything," he said.
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Lodge said the club did not try and shield the players from media, suggesting there was some kind of breakdown in communication.
He wore the No.8 jersey at training on Sunday and spent the field session alongside Payne Haas in the middle in a sign he will start against Manly on Thursday night in Gosford after two games off the bench following his partial ACL tear.
Corey Oates is set to get his long desired crack at starting in the back row against the Sea Eagles after training strongly in the position.
Last week’s back-row starters Jamil Hopoate and Ethan Bullemor appear destined for the bench.
Xavier Coates and Herbie Farnworth are set to be the two starting wingers while Maroons forward Joe Ofahangaue looks likely to be Oates’s back-row starting partner.