This was the night the Broncos needed to fire some serious shots after a listless, four-game losing streak since the resumption of the season. One of those was a 59-0 pounding from the Roosters.
Instead, they were soundly beaten 30-12 by the Gold Coast, who deserve all the credit for an energetic showing against a club that has never seen them as a serious local rival.
A crowd of just over 6000 fans was allowed in to watch the game. They greeted their team with what may be a first in Broncos history: boos at half-time as they trailed 22-0.
“This is the first time I’ve heard a Broncos team get booed off at half-time. The fans are very angry. You can really feel the frustration from the fans and the players,” Brisbane great Justin Hodges told Fox Sports.
“They have to change their attitude. They are all over the shop. They have to get down to basic football.”
Brisbane’s board has backed coach Anthony Seibold to deliver but the calls for change will get louder this week. Already, the club’s powerful cabal of Old Boys have made it clear he isn’t their man. Only winning will change their minds. Seibold said he still believed he was the man to lead the club.
“I haven’t even thought about that. I’ve got a five-year deal here. I think I’m the right person to bring this group through but if the board think otherwise, or Paul White as CEO thinks otherwise, they’ll tell me,” Seibold said.
“I’m not looking over my shoulder. I’ll get up and go again in the morning. It’s frustrating.”
Victory never looked likely on Saturday. Through poor defence, questionable commitment and an attack that doesn’t appear to have clear direction, they started badly and – despite a mini-resurgence in the second half – ended in disarray.
When Matt Lodge went off due to a knee injury in the 65th minute, they were out of interchanges and unable to replace him. When Corey Oates was sin-binned with five minutes left, they had to finish the match with 11 players.
There was much at stake for Brisbane, especially with the pounding drums that their star young back-rower, David Fifita, was considering a big-money deal to sign with the Titans. If this was the night that made up his mind, it will be a huge blow for the Broncos.
Anyone and everyone is lining up for a crack at a team that not only demands success but has every advantage a club could enjoy. Strap yourself in because this is just the start of the longest of weeks for club officials and players.
“Broncos look like team of strangers, thrown together yesterday to make up a team. Can’t believe it. Just awful,” Phil Gould mused on Twitter at half-time.
Cooper Cronk posed some serious questions to Brisbane’s few senior players: “I’m gobsmacked. I’m not sure that Seibold or anyone else can handle what’s to come this week.”
Brisbane look like the poster child for list management gone wrong. They did so much to retain all their young talents that veteran hard heads like Josh McGuire, who has been excellent for the Cowboys this season, were left to depart.
He might feel like it’s one of his better decisions. After five losses in a row, they are near the foot of the ladder and a tsunami of criticism is brewing.