The Brisbane Broncos are not turning into the Brisbane Lions. They have struggled in the initial stages of the Telstra 2018 NRL competition, that is true, but it seems premature to write their epitaph.
The Broncos have a long tradition of on-field excellence that goes back nearly 20 years, but no titles in the past 12 years have some wondering if the club has lost its sense of direction.
The halves and forward pack have been singled out for the three wins from six starts campaign in 2018, so there is some conjecture that some of the winning mystique of the club has dissipated.
Former Broncos player Steve Renouf, veteran of 183 games for Brisbane over a 10-year period where the club soared to four grand finals wins, said, when asked to comment on the possible vanishing winning aura of the club, “You could argue that, but you’ve always got to talk about eras.”
Aura and era sound remarkably similar, although the definitions are quite different.
Renouf continued, “I think we collectively agree that they probably have, and it’s unfortunate to say that about this team because they are a different group of boys. I was very lucky, I got to play across two generations in the ‘90s teams and I got to play in the ‘98 (grand final-winning) team. It’s still a hard mark to say that they don’t have it.”
Gorden Tallis, another from the glory days, spoke of the reverence with which the team was regarded.
“When I played against the Broncos, I remember when that ‘92, ‘93, ‘94, ‘95 — when I was at the Dragons — when that side walked into the ground, you knew,” Tallis said. “When they came in and sat in the reserve players’ area watching the reserve grade they had an aura about them.”
Auras seldom win any rugby games, regardless of the era being considered, but there is some truth to the idea that sowing doubt in the minds of opponents prior to a game is a key component to a winning culture.
The mystique for the 2018 Brisbane Broncos would probably return, given, say, three consecutive wins.