A host of rugby league legends believe Brisbane Broncos fans should be “optimistic” about the coming season despite capitulation of the second half of tonight, who saw Kevin Walters’ men flight of 24 unanswered points on the way to victory.
One of Walters’ main goals when he returned to the Broncos to coach was to reinstall the pride of the jersey – the same jersey in which he had won five first positions – and former Cowboys champion Johnathan Thurston has stated that he had seen glimpses of this before.
“If I’m a Broncos fan, I’m very optimistic about the season ahead,” Thurston said during Nine’s post-game coverage of the Broncos’ 24-16 loss to the Parramatta Eels.
“Kevie said he was going to bring back some pride in the jersey and I think they did it tonight.”
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The Broncos took a 16-0 halftime lead but were beaten by a scintillating Eels side in the second half.
Blake Ferguson, Clint Gutherson, Reed Mahoney, Junior Paulo and Mitchell Moses were the main destroyers as the Eels tore the Broncos apart with giant yards in the middle and electrical testing.
Thurston said Brisbane needs to learn to capitalize on a lead.
“They performed really well in the first half. They just ran out of troops, the ball control wasn’t great, the kicking play wasn’t great in the second half,” said Thurston.
“In the lawsuit against the Cowboys a few weeks ago, they were in the same position. They are young but they need to know how to freeze these games. They just need to know how to win. Once they have achieved this victory, I think they will continue on their way. “
Queensland great Paul Vautin listed a host of Broncos players who impressed in the season opener.
“From Brisbane’s perspective some of the players who were under pressure tonight, for example Brodie Croft – I thought he was really good,” said Vautin.
“The kicking game was good, he ran the ball a few times.
David Mead is coming back from four years in the Super League – question marks. At 32, he played really well. He scored their first try.
“Jake Turpin in the hooking role.
“So they have a lot to work on.
“(Jamayne) Isaako is back at the back – he wants to play there and he’s been great tonight.
“There were a lot of advantages for the Broncos tonight.
“I don’t think their fans even expected them to win tonight, but they have shown they will win a lot of games this year.”
Broncos board member and games record holder Darren Lockyer said Brisbane’s intention against the Eels was impressive.
“There’s a lot to like about this performance,” Lockyer said.
“I know they would be disappointed to lose the game given the position they were in, but there was a lot to like about their attitude.”