Kevin Walters kept a straight face in front of the cameras, but inside the Broncos dressing room delivered a brutally honest spray of a 40-point drubbing that threatens to consign Brisbane to more unwanted history.
In the moments after a dismal 46-6 loss to Parramatta, Walters took the famous maroon and gold jersey he won five premierships in and made a point of exactly what it stands for to his players, and how far they were from those lofty standards.
NRL.com understands the rookie coach then delivered an "emotional", double-barrelled dressing down of his squad after yet another contest in which a short, pre-half-time lapse ended in a lopsided loss.
Brisbane now sit with a 1-6 record after seven rounds.
If it is compounded by another loss next week against the Titans and rampaging ex-Bronco David Fifita, it will surpass the horror 1999 season start as the worst opening two months in the club's proud history.
Pangai is just too strong close to the line
"[Walters] was pretty upset because he knows what we're capable of and we showed it last week," prop Payne Haas, one of Broncos pulling their weight in the brutal Darwin conditions, said of the coach's address.
"To come out here and play like that, it's embarrassing to be honest.
"Kev's a passionate bloke and he loves the Broncos. What we showed tonight's not a Broncos performance."
Walters rightly cited his side's unacceptable ball control as the root cause of 40 unanswered points having held Parramatta to a 6-6 scoreline after 30 minutes.
Match Highlights: Eels v Broncos
Haas stood well above the majority of his teammates with a powerhouse performance in the middle despite being in the middle of Ramadan fasting.
The 117kg bookend did not take on water or food until an hour before kick-off in 30-degree, 70 per cent humidity conditions, yet still churned through 184 metres and 34 tackles to be Brisbane's best by the length of the straight.
"He's outstanding, Payne," Walters said.
"I'm just disappointed for him that the effort that he can put in like that, it's a shame he just hasn't got some more mates around him to help him out."
As a practicing Muslim Haas has played through the gruelling Ramadan restrictions each May for the past three seasons now, though the oppressive Darwin conditions took his physical sacrifice to another level.
Haas's phenomenal 57-minute effort against the Eels saw him lose four kilos across the course of the night, but the 21-year-old said the mental and spiritual pay-off of playing through Ramadan never saw him hesitate on his religious commitment.
"First of all you look at people and the struggles they have, they don't have much food or water and it makes me grateful for what I've got in this life right now living in a country like Australia," Haas explained after full-time.
The magic of Brisbane
"Compared to other countries where they don't get the resources we've got. Just to have water and food I'm grateful for, that's why I do it.
"I'm just used to it now and my body has just adapted really well.
"The Broncos have been really good with that, I've just been trying to sip on as much water as I can during the night and try to get enough food in my body so I feel good the next day for training, they've been good, especially while I've been here [in Darwin]."
Adding salt to the wounds for Brisbane was the loss of Alex Glenn in warm-up to a calf injury that saw him ruled out just moments before kick-off.
"Calf muscles don't sort of heal very quickly, so he will probably be out for a couple of weeks, I'd imagine two or three weeks," Walters said.