Peter Gentle insists his young Broncos team will not be spooked by last year’s finals debacle against the Eels on their return to Bankwest Stadium on Friday night.
Last year’s 58-0 hiding in week one of the finals led to a club-wide review of operations and is a loss the 15th-placed Broncos have not recovered from.
Only six players from this week’s side – Darius Boyd, Corey Oates, Kotoni Staggs, David Fifita, Joe Ofahengaue and Pat Carrigan – were in the team walloped by Parramatta and Gentle said most of the players carried no scars.
“I don’t think they will get spooked. They are quite confident, the young guys,” Gentle said.
“I don’t think there is any point looking back. We all know what happened. We have been looking forward to this game.”
The fourth-placed Eels have been written off as a genuine title threat by many pundits but that was no comfort to the Broncos coach.
“I appreciate all the media outlets bagging them before we play them. That is really helpful,” Gentle grinned.
“They did have only 36 per cent possession last week [in the 20-2 loss to Penrith] and defended really well so on face value their performance wasn’t as bad as it looks.
“They didn’t get many opportunities to cross the line, and we’d like to give them the same amount.”
Gentle said new five-eighth Tyson Gamble had a “great opportunity” to impress after being called in when Brodie Croft was knocked out at Tuesday’s training.
“He was in the mix this week and I went with Brodie just for a bit of experience and it was probably the toughest decision I’ve had to make.
“I spoke to Tyson about that, and then when Brodie went down it was an easy decision to bring Tyson in.”
Croft was injured late in the session on Tuesday and Gamble, who has agreed to terms with the Broncos for the 2021 season, didn’t get to train with the main group. He did train on Thursday with the starting team and impressed.
“Tyson has good awareness of what play to put on and a decent kicking game which is going to come in handy,” Gentle said.
Gentle said Croft had seen the club’s medicos and passed all his tests with the Broncos to make a decision early next week whether he is available to play the Cowboys next Thursday at Suncorp Stadium.
The Broncos are without last week’s starting front-rowers with Rhys Kennedy suspended and Payne Haas given the match off to be with his family.
“He will go good. You can play Benny anywhere. We’ve played him on the edge, off the bench, we’ve started him and now we are starting him in the middle,” Gentle said.
“Ben has been around long enough and we know what he brings to the team, and we know he will do his job.”
Te’o is one of eight off-contract Broncos in the top 30. Gentle said he would re-sign the 2014 premiership winner if making the decision himself, but added it would be “up to the new coach and the recruitment and retention committee”.
Brisbane Broncos, Peter Gentle, Parramatta Eels
World news – AU – Don’t look back: Broncos ‘won’t be spooked’ by Bankwest return