Broncos soft? Club desperate for Lazarus-style mongrel
Are the Broncos too nice for their own good?
This is the question the club will be forced to ask itself as it sifts through the debris of a tortured season.
Leading sports psychologist Phil Jauncey, the mind guru who worked under Wayne Bennett with many outstanding Broncos teams, knows from experience that successful teams need a blend of players with different personality traits.
"You need that balance of thinking players, instinctive players and forceful players,'' Jauncey said.
And he senses there is one type of player lacking at the Broncos - an enforcer.
A charismatic hard man to whom you don't answer back but you'll follow him into battle because you know he's got your back.
"You need your thinkers like Darren Lockyer who were not enforcers but they would read the game. Then you had mozzies like Kevin Walters and Allan Langer who play on pure instinct.
"Then you need enforcers. The old heads like Josh McGuire and Adam Blair, Shane Webcke and James Graham. They would get into the trenches for you if you needed that bit of mongrel.
"There is just no substitute for experience and learning toughness on the battle field.
"I don't really know the young players in the Broncos team but you look across the field and you think who really in that team is going to grab the other players by the scruff of the neck. "You need that player who, when he speaks, no one else is going to say, 'I don't know about that'.
"The current Broncos side has some tough young guys but they haven't been in the trenches. When the young players came through (in previous generations) the Webcke's, Lazarus' and Gee's pulled them into line off the field as well.
"Enforcers play a crucial role. You need several enforcers on the field who are full speed ahead and damn the torpedoes.
"Before the Brisbane Lions won three premierships in a row they recruited Martin Pike who might not have been their best player but he was very tough and uncompromising. He was a real enforcer and he made a big difference.''
The Broncos have aggressive players such as Matt Lodge and Tevita Pangai but none have the charisma of a true enforcer in a Webcke or Lazarus mould.
Former State of Origin forward Billy Moore said recently that Tevita Pangai's brazen off-field behaviour would not have happened had the club had a strong, respected leader.
"Do you think he would have behaved the way he did if Cameron Smith was playing at the club?'' Moore asked.
Originally published as Broncos soft? Club desperate for Lazarus-style mongrel