The Courier-Mail

Brisbane must aim up, and quickly

- PETER BADEL CHRIS GARRY

DARIUS Boyd admits the Broncos have lost their mental edge as Brisbane’s players vow to lift for the toughest month of their season.

St George Illawarra have set up camp in Brisbane for the week as they attempt to extend the Broncos’ losing streak to three this Friday night.

Brisbane have turned in one poor performanc­e and one spirited but error-laden effort in the past two weeks.

Their 18-14 loss to the Bulldogs at home on Friday was their first loss at Suncorp Stadium since South Sydney thrashed them in Round 1.

The Broncos could lose Justin Hodges and Corey Oates for the Dragons clash, with Hodges on report for a high tackle on Brett Morris and Oates battling a knee injury.

After the Dragons, the Broncos face the Roosters, Rabbitohs and Storm to finish the regular season.

Boyd was blunt on why Brisbane’s seemingly secured minor premiershi­p is now under threat.

Asked if they had lost their mental edge, Boyd replied: “Yeah, I think we have ... it’s been a long year.

“We’ve done a lot of hard work to get where we are and we don’t want to let it slip now.

“Our performanc­e (against the Bulldogs) was definitely better than last week, but it wasn’t enough and we need to do better against the Dragons.

“We were pretty poor, we didn’t complete our sets, we got to that good lead and we could have run away with it but it wasn’t to be. We need to improve for next week.

“They had a lot of possession and they were too hard to handle. We gave the ball to them, gave penalties away and they are a class side.

“It’s not a crisis at the moment but we need to get a hurry on with our form in the next few weeks.”

Broncos coach Wayne Bennett commended the effort of his players but criticised their ability to execute sets.

“We put two kicks in the second half, both of them went dead in the in-goal, they scored off one of those seven tackles, it can’t happen anymore that stuff,” he said.

“We had one team that completed well with the ball and another that completed poorly. It will always come down to execution.

“We have to get back to that again, whether it’s the fifth and last play, making sure the ball stays in the field of play, that’s the difference between the top teams.”

Five-eighth Anthony Milford, who has struggled behind a beaten pack in the past fortnight, said the next eight weeks of football demanded that the Broncos find their best form quickly.

“We need to be better,” he said.

“With finals football coming up we must be better than what we have been this season.”

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