‘We just fall apart’: Gentle’s hard truth for brittle Broncos
Caretaker coach Peter Gentle slammed Brisbane's second-half fadeouts and questioned the Broncos' team spirit under pressure in the wake of their Canberra collapse on Friday night.
Brisbane's turbulent week of off-field dramas ended in on-field misery as the Broncos inexplicably butchered a promising first half to slump to their 11th loss in 12 games with a 38-6 caning at GIO Stadium.
For 40 minutes, a boilover loomed. The Broncos rattled the Raiders with hard-running and up-tempo line speed and thoroughly deserved their 8-6 half-time lead following tries to Jesse Arthars and Herbie Farnworth.
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But Brisbane's achilles heel this season has been their proliferation of shambolic second halves.
The latest horror script was penned in Canberra as the Raiders ran in five tries in 21 minutes to win the second half 30-0, prompting Gentle to lash Brisbane's commitment when the chips are down.
"In the first half, we were doing everything right, but when adversity comes against us it becomes every man for himself," Gentle said. "We looked like two different teams.
"Our actions were really good in the first half but in the second half we just fall apart. It's been happening all year.
"Little things are becoming big things. Some of the defence in the second half just wasn't up to NRL standard."
Gentle did a solid job as interim coach given Brisbane's tumultuous build-up. It started with coach Anthony Seibold going into COVID lockdown, followed by off-field scandals involving Tevita Pangai Jr and up to 10 Broncos players triggering police and NRL probes into a pub-bonding session.
Despite those ructions, the Broncos were gutsy in the first half, only to fall apart defensively when hooker Jake Turpin (broken hand) failed to return for the second half.
"They (doctors) think he has a fractured hand, so I'm not sure (if Turpin is out for the year)," Gentle said.
"There was a lot going on this week. It's hard in Brisbane to shield players from media, it's pretty ruthless up there, but that's no excuse.
"When we make an error we have to learn how to defend it.
"At the moment, we are letting errors get to us and not defending the way we did in the first half."
Stand-in skipper Pat Carrigan blasted the Broncos' woeful second half.
"Embarrassing, it's been the story of the year," he said.
"We are taking shortcuts, it's not good enough, it's not first-grade standard.
"There's a lot of talk about potential but potential has to be turned into performances. This is the NRL and you are going to get hurt if you take those shortcuts.
"Credit to Canberra but we are our own worst enemy. Defence is attitude and we had a good attitude for 40 minutes and then we fade away."