Brisbane’s rookie co-captains have Darren Lockyer’s leadership lessons ringing in their ears as they aim to bounce back from last week’s record-breaking loss to the Roosters.
Brodie Croft and Patrick Carrigan spoke to the media on Wednesday leading into Thursday night’s clash with Manly in Gosford with both determined to lead with their actions and inspire a revival after a 59-0 loss that has the entire club under the microscope.
Lockyer wasn’t a big talker on the field during his seven-year stint as Broncos captain but when the chips were down he found a way to inspire with a telling play.
The four-time premiership winner has been hired by the Broncos as a leadership consultant and Croft said it was now vital he and Carrigan heeded his advice.
"Locky was coming in once a week before isolation to do chats with us as a group. That wasn’t just footy chats. That was leadership chats about how we want to be as a team and how we want to be as leaders," Croft said.
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"It has been a bit more difficult during isolation with him not being able to come into the facilities but he has been helping us in the pre-season.
"The main takeaway was leading by example and letting your actions do the talking.
"You can speak all you want but it is our actions and results that is what defines us.
"We have to firstly look at ourselves and do our job to the best of our ability. The first person I looked at after last week’s performance was myself.
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"I was disappointed with how I played personally. This week it is all about holding ourselves accountable and getting the job done."
Croft missed five tackles after getting a working over over from Roosters co-captain Boyd Cordner, who ran at him all night.
"I need to be better at my defence. We’ve got to make our tackles and we will build our game off our defence," Croft said.
"It is going to come from hard work. It is not just going to happen."
Carrigan was one of Brisbane’s better performers with 119 metres and 39 tackles but was far from happy.
"I will put my hand up personally. Last week was a below-par performance from the team and I wasn’t happy with areas of my game individually," he said.
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"Leadership is something where I have a long way to go and I am going to keep learning. I won’t say I have always got the answers … but the only way we can get better and look forward is to get a win on the board.
"I can sit here and do as much talking and as much apologising about the result but at the end of the day I have got to own it and so does the team."
One of the major concerns for the Broncos is the way the players drop their heads when things go against them.
The lack of talk and encouragement behind the goal posts was noticed by injured captain Alex Glenn.
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He has reinforced that point this week and urged the team’s leaders to be more proactive in giving advice and constructive criticism to players not pulling their weight.
"Lexi [Glenn] said it the other night about holding each other accountable and not being shy about having those tough conversations that need to be had," Croft said.
"That is something we can build on as a leadership group and individually, just holding each other accountable and … picking up people on areas of the game they need to fix."