Brisbane have been warned they face humiliation at the hands of premiers North Queensland in Friday’s grand final rematch.
The Broncos host the premiers in a blockbuster at Suncorp Stadium and will be keen to avoid another capitulation like they had against Penrith on Saturday night.
Wayne Bennett was scathing of his side as they let in 17 unanswered points in going down 23-22 to the Panthers with the supercoach accusing his side of switching off and thinking they had the game won.
Addressing that disturbing lack of focus, which saw Penrith five-eighth Te Maire Martin boot the winning field goal to cap a dream debut, will be a key issue in the lead up to the clash with the Cowboys.
“If we play like that against anyone we’re going to be sitting here having this same conversation,” Broncos captain Corey Parker said.
“I’ll take full responsibility for the way we turned out tonight. We’ll go back to training, have a good preparation and give it our best against the Cowboys.
“You’re not going to win every game this year but we don’t want to give a team an easy run like we did there tonight.”
Broncos centre Jack Reed suffered a cut eye late against the Panthers after copping a stray elbow from Anthony Milford but is expected to be fine as last year’s losing grand finalists seek a measure of revenge against the Cowboys.
North Queensland showed they were warming to their premiership defence with a 40-0 thumping of a weakened Sydney Roosters on Thursday.
Johnathan Thurston was back to his best, pulling the strings with four try assists, as the Townsville side looked clinical in attack.
“We’ll have to be better in a few areas,” Thurston said of his side’s first meeting with Brisbane since the grand final.
“Our ball control was a lot better than it was last week and we’ll have to be better against the Broncos. They’ve got strike power all over the park.
“We don’t want to be coughing up cheap possession especially with the interchange going down.”