Brisbane’s hat-trick hero Ezra Mam has vowed to use the pain of Sunday night’s grand final loss to Penrith as motivation to ensure the Broncos go one better next season.
Mam, who was named the Dally M five-eighth of the year in the lead up to the grand final, appeared set to lead the Broncos to their first premiership since 2006 when he scored three tries within 10 minutes early in the second half.
However, the Panthers came back from 24-8 down in the 55th minute to snatch a 26-24 win and Mam said the Broncos would learn from the experience as they hadn’t playing in the NRL finals since 2019.
“I’m very proud of the boys and what we did out there. We couldn’t capitalise on the opportunity that we had so we’ll let this hurt and we’ll be back for sure,” Mam said.
Ezra Mam's incredible Grand Final hat-trick
“I'm very excited for next year because we have got something special happening at the Broncos and we are building.
“We took the hurt from last year and put it into this year, and we just couldn’t get the job done in the end, so hopefully we can go one better next year.”
The 20-year-old said a halftime address by captain Adam Reynolds had inspired him to take it upon himself to try and spark a Broncos win after the interval.
Reynolds vows to come back bigger
Man was disappointed following the defeat but proud of his efforts after using his speed to beat the Penrith right edge defence for two tries before creating a break for Reece Walsh and backing up the star fullback to score.
“Reyno said grand finals are won in moments. I just tried to be myself and play with my strengths,” Mam said.
“I’m very proud of what I have done. It doesn’t mean anything if you don’t get the job done but we will get the job done next year.”
The epic final 10 minutes of the 2023 NRL Grand Final
After making 38 NRL appearances since Reynolds joined the club last season, Mam plans to continue learning from the 33-year-old halfback, who won a premiership with South Sydney in 2014 but has now lost twice to Penrith in 2021 and 2023.
“I’m very excited for next season,” he said. “I've got Reyno here again and it's only been two years now that I've been with him, so I'm keen to go another year with him and learn the trade off him.
“To be able to play with him and the boys we had in our team was a dream come true. We just couldn’t get the job done.
“We just switched off for a little 10 minute period and you can’t really do that against players like Nathan Cleary. He took full advantage of that.”