Although six Broncos were reportedly seen gambling at the pokies less than 24 hours before their semi-final, former five-eighth and halfback Brett Finch believes Brisbane still would have lost if they had an early night.
In an appearance on The Matty Johns Podcast, Finch revealed that he was a part of sides who had spent nights gambling, but the difference was his sides won.
In the aftermath of the Broncos' 58-0 drubbing at the hands of Parramatta, Finch said Brisbane's players didn't know what it takes to win at this level.
“I’ve been a part of teams who have sat on the pokies until three in the morning, two in the morning,” Finch said in a discussion with journalist Paul Kent on the podcast.
“Did you win?” Kent asked.
“Damn right we won,” Finch replied.
“But that’s the thing. You’ve got to get the results.
“This is not the night before’s problem. Obviously their actions... that’s just not the way to prepare for a game because you’re not ready to go.
“It’s obviously far deeper than sitting on the pokies the night before.”
The 58-0 scoreline is the worst in Broncos history and the biggest loss in NRL finals history.
“Let me ask you this, how many guys the night before their 100-metre final at the Olympics go out and sit at the pub until midnight,” Kent said.
“It just doesn’t happen.”
Johns was quick to point out the rumours surrounding the Chicago Bulls 1993 playoff game, where Michael Jordan allegedly flew to Atlantic City the night before. The Bulls lost the game against the Knicks but eventually bounced back to win the championship.
Jordan is also reported to have been playing poker with USA teammates Charles Barkley, Magic Johnson and Scottie Pippen until the early hours of the morning before their gold medal match-up against Croatia in the 1992 Olympics.
“The difference with those guys is they’ve figured out what they need to do to win games, they’ve figured out what’s important to the preparation and what’s not important,” Kent said.
Johns believes that players should be independent and be able to make their own decisions. However, he also noted that the Broncos' poor mentality raises questions about how their mindset could be impacted following a loss at the pokies.
“My concern if you’re coaching that side is, I don’t mind them going down to have a bit of a slap on the pokies,” he said.
“My concern would be what it does to your mental frame of mind if suddenly you find yourself $1,200 in the hole.”