If you thought Brisbane’s NRL grand final loss was heartbreaking enough, spare a thought for injured front-rower Josh McGuire.
As the Broncos’ chance of winning a seventh premiership sensationally slipped from their grasp, a “shattered” McGuire watched on from the sidelines, unable to intervene and powerless to influence the result.
But his own personal pain and that shared by his teammates will only drive Brisbane to better things, he said.
“It’s been a tough couple of months for myself,” said the Queensland Origin prop, who has been out of action since injuring his Achilles tendon in June.
“I’ve been shattered for the last couple of months, missing out on all the stuff.
“All you want to do as a player is be out there and help your mates out.
“It wasn’t the ending we wanted but it’s something to build on.”
McGuire, who will be back to full fitness by the end of November, said the result will keep the Broncos “hungry” as they look to build on a stellar campaign.
“Losing probably makes it a little bit easier to pick yourself up – you want to get back there, you don’t ever want to feel that feeling again.
“We’re excited about the challenge ahead. We’ll grow from this and get better.”
That seems to be the consensus – that Broncos are on the precipice of an NRL dynasty, with halves Ben Hunt and Anthony Milford just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to young talent coming through at Red Hill.
But coach Wayne Bennett has been at pains to point out to his players that getting better doesn’t just happen on its own.
“One of the real false things about sport is (talking about) what we’re going to do next year after we’ve just finished this year,” Bennett told Broncos fans at a reception for the team on Monday at the club’s Red Hill base.
“We’ve just got to come back and we’ve got work hard.
“All the stars just about aligned for us to be in that position.
“We could have multiple injuries to key players, we could lose some form somewhere – it’s too far away for me to think of any prediction for next year.
“It’s a fine line but it’s one we have to go down again.”