Broncos skipper Alex Glenn has revealed how death threats to several players inspired him to take aim on Instagram at social media bullying and its consequences.
In the wake of the side’s fifth consecutive loss, he posted on social media on Monday that he said he understood there were expectations for players to perform.
But he added: "before you be quick to judge and take your anger out over social media put yourself in the other persons shoes and think about people’s mental state and the impact it could possibly have on those you want to share your thoughts with".
After training on Tuesday, he explained what had motivated him to speak out.
"Certain players, not just from my team but from other teams too, have been getting death threats on social media," Glenn said.
"I understand people can have their judgements about who should be dropped but I saw [the posts] before they got deleted and that is just not acceptable in any circumstances, whether we are playing good or not.
"I’d just had enough. No one should be at their wit’s end or deserves to be told they should kill themselves. That is what I was putting my foot down about."
The Broncos have welfare officer Adam Walsh on board and he has been assisting the affected players with all the help they need off the field.
Glenn said he had reported the posts to the club and added Broncos staff had been doing a great job at "keeping control of the hateful comments coming through" on social media.
"But it is easy for someone to start another account and keep on doing it," he said.
"When I jump on these other accounts and look at them they have zero followers and do no posts. I know they are all about just being cyber bullies.
"No one deserves that. I am a big believer and ambassador for mental health. You tell me another industry where you go to work and have a bad day and then come home and get criticised and told to do harm to yourself. There is no industry.
"I can switch off from social media but some of these boys can’t. When they get those comments they can put on a big smile and turn up for work but I know how it affects them mentally. Deep down it hurts them and hurts their families.
"I have spoken to my [impacted] teammates and check up on them. We are in an industry where no one likes to show weakness but the weight is still on your shoulders."
Broncos five-eighth Anthony Milford was the victim of vile verbal abuse after the trial with the Titans at Redcliffe earlier this year. He did not retaliate at the time. Milford said social media attacks, which he had received, were a "big no-no".
In defence of Issac Luke
"I get my fair share of criticism and people sending messages to me," he said.
"Different people have different ways of responding to things and what I do is delete it all.
"You can’t fall into the trap of trying to get back at people or talk back. You’ve got to take the good with the bad in rugby league and unfortunately that is one of the bad sides."
Glenn has told his young players that he has faith in them and that their bad run of form will turn soon, hopefully against the Warriors in Gosford on Saturday night.
"We are expecting to win this weekend. We are not going to say it is going to happen but we are sick of losing. I am sick of losing," he said.
"We don’t want to just focus on winning, because that is the wrong process. We need to make sure that we focus on doing our job for 80 minutes which we haven’t done for a long time.
"The Warriors are in a tough predicament themselves and just as desperate. It won’t be easy but it will come down to doing our job as a collective.
"The effort is there. If you look at our last seven minutes [against the Titans] we were down to our 11 players and I was thinking that we were defending better than with 13.
"That came down to effort, but we are making it hard for ourselves. We have to be a lot smarter. Our backs are against the wall. I thrive when the pressure is on my back and it is going to be one hell of a story when we bounce back."
Brisbane's chances of reversing their fortunes have taken a hit with Maroons forward Joe Ofahengaue accepting a two-match ban for a shoulder charge in the loss to the Titans.
Broncos winger Corey Oates, who has been dropped to the reserves, was fined $550 for contrary conduct following his uncharacteristic outburst at referee Peter Gough on the weekend which resulted in him being sin-binned.
Help is available 24/7 for anyone who has mental health issues by calling Lifeline Australia on 13 11 14
For further information on the NRL State of Mind program, click here