Broncos player Alex Glenn eyes up the tryline during the NRL Elimination Final between the Brisbane Broncos and Gold Coast Titans at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane, Friday, Sept. 9, 2016.
Broncos player Alex Glenn eyes up the tryline during the NRL Elimination Final between the Brisbane Broncos and Gold Coast Titans at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane, Friday, Sept. 9, 2016. AAP Image - Dave Hunt

Broncos need to fire up earlier to earn grand final spot

EXPERIENCED big-match forward Sam Thaiday says Brisbane has to fix its slow starts quickly to get past either North Queensland or Melbourne into successive grand finals in Sydney next month.

Most of the pre-game talk centres around a penalty try to Brisbane winger Jordan Kahu who had the ball kicked out of his grasp by Titans centre Konrad Hurrell, denying him the opportunity to score.

There were several other incidents that may have sequels today and prove costly for Brisbane which could attract the attention of the match review committee.

The most concerning was in the 51st minute when Titan-turned-Bronco James Roberts kick the Gold Coast's Ryan Simpkins in the back, an incident seen by most of the 43,000 fans at Suncorp Stadium but not referee Gerard Sutton and his assistants despite the protests from retiring captain Nathan Friend.

Brisbane was leading 22-18 when Roberts sunk the boot in and Brisbane scored from the next play when the Gold Coast should have received a penalty.

The first question to Henry when he sat down in the interview room was: "did you feel like you got a fair go?"

"That's a fair question first up," he said with a laugh.

"I know Tony Archer took some time at half time with Darren Lockyer to explain the penalty try. I hope he takes some time out to explain to me a couple of decisions out there," said Henry.

"You talk about referees being a protected species. I've got a huge question on David Mead going for a ball (with Corey Oates) which ultimately was a penalty and a big momentum change because they go up the other end and score a try," said Henry.

"I have another one where a player who is playing the ball (James Roberts) kicks a defender (Ryan Simpkins) in the back, he has two goes at him, and they don't do anything about.

"We got (Bulldog James Graham) charged for not making contact with a player, and we see fit to not even worry about that situation."

Another incident that may be looked at was a scuffle between Brisbane captain Corey Parker and rival forward Ryan James in the 58th minute when Parker appeared to lunge at James with his head.

Titans coach Neil Henry said he wanted some answers from referees boss Tony Archer who during a half-time interview with Darren Lockyer said the referees had got the penalty try ruling 100 per cent correct.

Speaking after the highly controversial 44-28 win over a gallant Titans in which he put his body on the line against good friend Konrad Hurrell and came off second best, Thaiday said the Broncos could not expect to advance any further against the quality teams if they continued to start like they did last night.

The Gold Coast had a few setbacks before the game and lost classy halfback Ash Taylor in the first half, disrupting their attack, but still took a surprise 18-16 lead into half time after going try for try with Brisbane.

Asked in the dressing room afterwards if Brisbane played the same way could they beat the Cowboys or Melbourne next week, his response was:" probably no".

"If we play like we did in the first half, we'll be way off the mark we have set ourself and the Storm and the Cowboys would be way too good for us.

"There are a couple of things we need to do and fix on Monday and for now we will sit back and watch to see who we play next."

"We're still winning. It's do or die for us. and if we can't get up to play the Cowboys or Melbourne we don't deserve to be in the finals."

"I'm sure we will flick a switch and be ready to play from the start.

"We need more energy and enthusiasm from the start because the deeper we go into games the harder it will be to come back and win." .

Thaiday was still feeling the effects from the Hurrell hit which knocked him flying.

"He's a unit and a very tough boy to tackle and had to put my body on the line," said Thaiday, again very influential on the edge.

"He's got the Petero Civoniceva hip where he turns his hip when he hits you. I'm feeling a bit sore now . It was a bit of burner so I'll get to some love from physio this week and we'll come close to getting it right.

Brisbane will know their next opponent later today after the heavyweight clash at AAMI Park against defending premier North Queensland.

Either way they will be heading north to Townsville or South to Melbourne.


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