Sport Walters Blasts ‘Soft’ Broncos, Apologises To Fans After Embarrassing Loss To The Sea Eagles
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A furious Kevin Walters has repeatedly labelled his players ‘soft’ and refused to blame the NRL’s crackdown on high tackles for Friday’s 50-6 thumping at the hands of the in-form Manly Sea Eagles.
The Broncos were coming off an upset victory over the Titans and an impressive performance in a one-point loss to the Cowboys in Round 9.
But 36 hours after landing South Sydney skipper Adam Reynolds’ signature for next season, Walters’ men took several steps back in the eight-tries-to-one smash-up.
“Yeah it was a terrible night for Broncos people, I feel sorry for all of our fans and sponsors,” Walters said.
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“We started soft and got softer as the game went on.
Asked if he meant his players were soft mentally or physically, Walters replied: “Both, we just didn’t come ready to play and Manly did.
“… Definitely it is frustrating but you’ve just got to keep going and we’ve obviously got to work a bit harder, all staff, myself included, to get it right,” he said.
“We’re not there, we were a mile away tonight but I thought the last month we’ve been much improved.
“The results don’t reflect that but I just felt within the team but tonight was not good at all.”
The NRL’s crackdown on professional fouls and high tackles dominated the post-match talk after eight players were sin-binned in the two Friday night games to start Magic Round.
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Broncos duo Tyson Gamble and Jordan Riki were both sent to the bin in the 52nd minute for high shots.
The Sea Eagles scored three tries in their absence but the result was already beyond doubt as that stage.
Gamble (high tackle) and Riki (crusher) were also placed on report in the first-half, while along with team-mates Matt Lodge and Tevita Pangai Junior, both for high tackles.
“We were all aware of that so everyone was notified, the referees don’t tick the scoreboard over,” Walters said when asked if the referees contributed to the defeat.
“… I just thought we were soft mate,” he said.
“… We’ve got bigger problems than the referees, we’ve got to look at ourselves, that’s what we’ve got to do,” he said.
Walters refused to rule out selection changes next week but played down his decision to bench captain Jake Turpin in the 33rd minute.
“There was nothing in it, it was just the other bloke was getting some game time,” Walters said.
Former Bronco Karmichael Hunt is eligible for selection in Saturday’s Round 11 classh against the Sydney Roosters.
Walters said when asked if Hunt is a chance to come into the squad, Walters replied: “Yeah we’ll consider all players on tonight’s performance … we’ll have a look at the review and make some decisions after that.”
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