Brisbane face a mounting injury crisis next week as they make the daunting trip to Melbourne to play against the Storm after losing several of their stars in a brave 24-18 win over Canberra.
The Broncos were already without Kotoni Staggs, Selwyn Cobbo and Kurt Capewell to enter the contest, but were weakened even further when a disastrous series of injuries meant they ended the match with just 13 fit players.
“Certainly [the bravest win while I’ve been coach]’ Kevin Walters said after the bold performance.
“Even in my time here as a player and on the team, I can’t remember a team that has had that many injuries. Not just bumps and bruises, but actual injuries at the end of the game. Possibly weeks, months on the sidelines.
“Canberra played a tough game tonight. They were very physical. We’re kind of suffering the consequences now.”
Brisbane were down 18-16 at the break but flew out of the blocks in the second half when Herbie Farnworth notched his fast double on either side of the half.
SPEED 🐴#NRLBroncosRaiders pic.twitter.com/FenBqAoF0E
— NRL (@NRL) June 11, 2022
However, their attacking play — while brilliant at times — wasn’t the most impressive part of the Broncos’ performance, but their defense.
Again and again they managed to fend off a Canberra offensive that remained scoreless in the second stanza.
“Seven [wins] in a row is great, but we haven’t really won anything yet,” explained Walters.
The manager remained undeterred, although his side continue to show their revival is built on solid foundations.
Having previously lost four straight games in the early stages of the season, they are now on their best winning streak in seven seasons.
“We won some football games but we have to keep pushing this club forward. And if we can do that – consistently over long periods like the Storm and the Roosters – that’s the direction we need to go.”
Unfortunately, Walters has to worry about the cost of that win as some stars fell down injured.
Halfback Adam Reynolds, who has just returned from injury, tops a list with Payne Haas, Corey Paix and Farnworth.
Payne Haas, Adam Reynolds and Herbie Farnworth all left the field injured #NRLBroncosRaiders 🤕
— NRL (@NRL) June 11, 2022
“Poor Adam had to kick the gate with basically broken ribs,” Walters said.
“We have Payne with an AC problem on his other shoulder.
“Herbie, without jumping too far forward here, injured his biceps pretty badly, so that’s a long-term one for us. Possibly season.
“Corey Paix is – with his knee again. I’m no doctor, but it’s not a week-long injury. It’s a long term.
“Te Mare Matin has broken ribs. He struggled in the second half. There are a number of people who are broke.
“[Corey] Oates’s in there with a swollen hand but he can put that over his mouth and that’s good for the week,” he joked.
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The manager was quizzed about his halfback and insisted the club needed Reynolds on the field if they were to keep their streak intact.
“We want him with us [next week]. We just got him back,” he said.
“But we’ll wait and see what the scans show. However, like all our players, we will do everything we can to get them on the field next week.
“Selwyn will certainly be available and I think Kotoni and also Kurt Capewell so three have to come in. But I think up to six will be missing.”
Reynolds announced he didn’t want to leave the game and tried to work his way through the injury to his ribs.
“I didn’t want to come off the field,” he said.
“But I struggled to jog at all. Then I got a little hit in the back.”
“That’ll teach you to stay out there,” Walters interjected.
“I should have gotten hooked on the kick,” Reynolds replied.