BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 09: David Fifita of the Broncos consoles team mate James Roberts during the NRL Elimination Final match between the Brisbane Broncos and the St George Illawarra Dragons at Suncorp Stadium on September 9, 2018 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Albert Perez/Getty Images)

League great Kevin Walters has stated Brisbane could get ‘beaten up’ again during finals campaigns if they don’t address the issue of their worrying defensive record.

Brisbane suffered a huge and unexpected 48-18 loss to the injury-hit St George Illawarra Dragons on Sunday which sees them bundle out of the 2018 NRL Finals series.

The former Broncos captain has dismissed the criticism of defamed halves Anthony Milford and Kodi Nikorima, saying their defence is the only thing from stopping the club breaking a 12-year premiership drought.

If the loss wasn’t enough for super coach Wayne Bennett to ponder over, his immediate future is up in air as an upcoming Broncos board meeting regarding whether he’ll remain head coach in 2019 looms over his head.

Bennett is contracted to the Broncos for the 2019 season, but talk floating around is the outcome of this said board meeting could determine if the seven-time premiership coach walks away from the club.

Walters, who was Bennett’s former assistant, told Sky Sports Radio he believes Bennett will stay on and his main priority is to fix their leaky defence.

“Physically they were beaten up (by the Dragons) and defence has been their problem all season,” Walters said.

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“You can’t win big end-of-season games if you can’t defend your try line consistently.

“There’s nothing wrong with their halves. Defensively is where they fall down and they need to address that more than anything else.”

Despite being hyped to the extreme ahead of finals, Brisbane were the worst defensive team in the top eight, letting in over 500 points during the regular season, their highest since 2010.

Asked if he thinks Bennett will stay at Brisbane in 2019, Walters believes he will but isn’t too certain about his 2020 chances.

“I can’t see where Wayne is going to go to be honest,” Walters said.

“He’s got another year at the Broncos and would expect him to see that out.

“The board are going to make a decision on what they are going to do.

“Whether they will offer him another term I am not sure – I don’t think they are.

“But that has all got to be determined in the next couple of weeks.”

8 COMMENTS

  1. Disagree with “worrying signs”

    Signs were good this season – the team certainly stepped up offensively. They’re not losing many players in the off season and they were fairly capable of hanging with teams (assuming they had the ball).

    Yes, the defence is a massive problem – but I wouldn’t say that signs are worrying. I’d say signs are that they obviously need to work their arses off in the off season to correct the defence.

    Signs are bad if they turn up next year and defend as badly as they have this year. Signs are bad if Wayne doesn’t change up or get gone. Signs are really bad if either of those happen.

    I don’t think any broncos fan is going to “worry”, though – I think the desire to move Wayne on is borne by the same frustration we as fans are having and if the club see that, I don’t really fear the situation. I think we all know that Wayne hasn’t changed what he has done for wayyy too long.

    • Spot on redv13, Broncos started believing their own press and thought they only had to turn up for the win. Very disappointing from a Broncos fan point of view but kudos to the Dragons for the way the stuck it to the Broncos. They just kept coming through the forwards and the Broncos had no answer and the scoreline was a good reflection of that.

  2. Nikorima isn’t a game managing halfback. He is a brilliant player and would be much better with someone like Blake Green or James Maloney outside him.. Milford also needs a game managing halfback. If Brisbane can make a judgement call and replace one of them leading into next season with a game manager it will go a long way to them pressing further that round 1 of the finals next year.

    • Couldn’t disagree more with what you’re saying. They aren’t going anywhere until they defend. The priority is defense, defense, defense.

      Let’s not forget that they beat most of the teams in the finals in recent memory. They can score, fine and that is only going to increase with the players they have coming through (i need to remind myself that jack bird even exists in that team).

      What they cannot do is defend.

      As far as halves go – Milford has been pretty average, attacking wise – but more than made up for it lately with his game management ability surprisingly increasing. Nikorima has been more useful, too. Whether Nikorima can defend is another thing, though. I’d keep the both of them. They have done well in the second half of the season.

    • I reckon bench McCullough, put Nikorima in Hooker as he has a very poor kicking game, leave Milford in 5/8, Either get rid of bird and sign norman or put O’Sullivan or Corey Paix.
      McCullough has had a poor year did not really deserve origin and should face the consequences for poor performances just like every other player in the league, this also allows for a halfback who is a game manager or someone who can kick more than a grubber

    • I agree SSTD. Nikorima is a really good player and with the right 5/8 could turn into a great halfback. Many will disagree but I think the elephant in the room, at Brisbane is, Andrew Mccullough. He is a toiler and a hard worker but lacks the speed and running game needed by a modern hooker. When Turpin was there last week Brisbane looked sharper and quicker. It was similar when Hunt played there for a few games last year.

      If I was in charge of Brisbane I would move on Boyd and Mccullough. Move Milford to fullback and give Turpin a go. I would go into the market for a controlling 5/8.

      Also I think Joey Johns had a good point. He said that it is easy to forget the youth of Brisbane’s forwards. They are not game hardened and a few years off their aerobic peak. he said that their defence will improve with another off season. In all there are good years ahead at Brisbane and they achieved round about what I expected this year.

  3. who cares its the donkeys . as stated by good friend redv13 no respect for the steelersand got put to the sword. a few revolving doors . roberts look like a goose. Bet “third man in” is glad he is gettin’ outa dodge. gillette wont save the world next year. the halves are hopeless especially the highly overated milford. beenett and his son should go with out sam too maybe they can hold a few more barbies ! young and dumb i say .

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