Joey Leilua of the Raiders is tackled by Jack Bird of the Broncos. Picture: AAP Image/Rohan Thomson
Joey Leilua of the Raiders is tackled by Jack Bird of the Broncos. Picture: AAP Image/Rohan Thomson

Tate: Broncos lack ‘personal pride’

The Broncos have to be willing to "pay a price'' physically to rectify the defensive errors which have sentenced them to the club's worst start this century, premiership player Brent Tate says.

Tate said six weeks should be enough for the Broncos players to feel comfortable about the defensive structure ordered by coach Anthony Seibold as they look to rebound from five losses in the opening six games.

That was about the stage of the season in which his 2014 Cowboys adjusted to defensive changes in Paul Green's first year, Tate said.

Seibold says he is not inclined to make changes for their home match against Cronulla on Saturday night, although he will accommodate Tevita Pangai Jr, back from a two-match ban, and Matt Lodge if he is cleared of a throat injury.

The Broncos rank last in the NRL this year for missed tackles with 29.6 per game, but it was not their forwards, including five aged 21 or younger, who were culpable in the 26-22 loss to Canberra on Sunday.

The nine Broncos forwards missed only seven tackles between them, with the backs missing 18.

Kodi Nikorima and Jack Bird missed four tackles each and Anthony Milford and Darius Boyd both missed three.

 

Joey Leilua of the Raiders breaks away to score a try. Picture: Mark Kolbe/Getty Images
Joey Leilua of the Raiders breaks away to score a try. Picture: Mark Kolbe/Getty Images

 

Bird, Milford and Boyd were all bumped out of the way by Joey Leilua for his first try, with Milford being bumped off by John Bateman prior to the offload which put Leilua over for his second try.

The loss means the 2019 Broncos have made the worst start by the club since their 1999 predecessors.

"To the extent that Brisbane are missing tackles, it is about attitude - sometimes it's about having real personal pride in your performance and not letting anyone get over the top of you,'' said Tate, a noted defender in Brisbane teams which won the club's last title in 2006.

"When you are playing Leilua, or Steve Matai as I did, you just have to muscle up and physically pay a price.

"Having new structures does take a bit of time. They have gone from having no structure at all under Wayne (Bennett) to someone who is probably the opposite.

"I remember when Greeny came in (as Cowboys coach) and changed all the structure of our defence at the Cowboys, it took us probably five or six weeks to get our heads around it.

"We went 2-5 to start that season (and made the finals).''

 

Brent Tate says six weeks should be enough for the Broncos players to feel comfortable about the defensive structure.
Brent Tate says six weeks should be enough for the Broncos players to feel comfortable about the defensive structure.

 

Payne Haas did miss Bateman on his own tryline when the Canberra forward scored to put Brisbane behind 18-16, but he made his other 35 tackles and his 80-minute hand was a big effort from a 19-year-old prop.

 

 

"It's unbelievable by him, in his second game back this year - hopefully he can continue that form,'' Nikorima said.

Seibold said the Broncos had been "much better defensively with (their) first contact'' in reducing their missed tackle count to 25 from the high-water marks of 56 in the April 4 loss to Sydney Roosters and 37 the previous week against Wests Tigers.

Nikorima said the Broncos knew that "defence wins games''.

"You could say we haven't been on in defence so far,'' he said.