Broncos coach Anthony Griffin has urged disgruntled fans to judge Brisbane by NRL results, not trials, as the club rounded out a horror set of pre-season trials.
After being walloped 32-8 in their first trial against the Cowboys, Brisbane were demolished to the tune of 48-4 against the Warriors in Auckland, adding more pressure to Griffin two weeks before the season begins.
To add more uncertainty, Griffin said he was still to decide who would play five-eighth in the season opener against Canterbury, meaning Brisbane will start their campaign with an untried playmaking combination that has only a fortnight of training to click.
Brisbane returned home on Monday morning and Griffin was the first to face the music. He said being flogged by the rampant Warriors was never part of the plan but round one would paint a much clearer picture of Brisbane’s abilities.
“It was a disappointing day. We’ve got two weeks before round one. Clearly we were off the pace,” Griffin said.
“I don’t know if we need wake up calls but everyone is very disappointed by the way we finished our last trial.
“Everything is about round one, or those 24 games. They were not happy with the way the trial went but round one is what we’re all getting ready for. Apart from yesterday, it’s been a very good off season.”
Brisbane finished 12th last season and already the sharks appear to be circling. Fans took to social media to vent their frustration at Brisbane’s early signs and Griffin must be starting to hear the noise.
“People will make assumptions and predictions and everyone is entitled to do that. Our job is to get ready and be as strong as we can for round one,” he said.
“That wasn’t a standard we’re capable of and certainly weren’t happy with after the game. The important thing is we get ready for round one.”
The embattled coach has some big decisions in coming days, top of the list being who will wear the number six jumper. Kodi Nikorima, Josh Hoffman and Zac Strasser have all had a crack with limited appeal.
It now seems certain new recruit Ben Barba will be given the task, although Griffin said he was yet to make up his mind.
“We tried a few guys there, being a trial. We’ll sit down over the next couple of days and sort that out. I don’t think there were too many people at their best,” Griffin said.
The Broncos have two weeks to get their house in order. Their fans have expectations like few others in the NRL and some underwhelming results early in the season would make the temperature unbearable at Red Hill.
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