Broncos legend Michael Hancock has launched a savage attack on Brisbane players, questioning their desire and calling for coach Anthony Seibold to axe underperforming stars to the Intrust Super Cup.
The spray from Hancock is compelling because the former Queensland and Test winger is a current Brisbane employee and just one of eight men to have played 250 NRL games for the Broncos.
Hancock is at the coalface of the Broncos organisation as a development officer and he was deeply concerned by Brisbane’s 38-10 horror show against Parramatta last Saturday night.
The Broncos are currently 12th in Seibold’s first season in charge and in danger of missing the playoffs for the first time since the sacking of Wayne Bennett, who steered Brisbane to four consecutive finals campaigns, including the 2015 grand final.
Hancock did not specifically mention names but says the time has come for Seibold to consider dropping top-liners who, according to the 49-year-old, must start putting the club’s famous legacy first.
Hancock is the latest Broncos great to speak out after former skipper Gorden Tallis lashed the current playing group, claiming they were arrogant despite having “won nothing”.
“Some players need a wake-up call — they are on so much money,” said Hancock, a 274-game Bronco, on Triple M’s Rush Hour show.
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“I was at the Broncos Leagues Club recently and older people were leaving at half-time because they said, ‘We aren’t playing well’.
“We have built our club on performance over a long period of time.
“You can’t coach effort and he (Seibold) is big on effort areas.
“We’ve got the Queensland Cup so why can’t we use that as a wake-up call and say boys, if you won’t play well you can have a stint there and then they will realise it’s about the club, not them.
“They quickly forget what it was like when they were young and wanted to be NRL players.
“Let’s get them in the community to help at hospitals and schools.”
Hancock’s sentiments should ring alarm bells for the Broncos board about the state of Queensland’s flagship sporting club.
A five-time premiership-winner, Hancock is one of the club’s most popular and passionate past players who rarely comments on Broncos matters.
A veteran of 14 Tests and 14 Origin matches for Queensland, Hancock also lamented the composition of Brisbane’s playing roster.
“We’re missing something,” Hancock said.
“It’s a hard one, we’ve talked about it many times, it’s a touchy subject.
“We don’t have a dynamic player who can go 80 metres to score a try and other clubs have that.
“I’m thinking of guys like Latrell Mitchell and James Tedesco and Kalyn Ponga, players out there who give you that X-factor.”
Ironically, Ponga was a Broncos scholarship holder at 15 before being poached by the North Queensland Cowboys.
Hancock hopes Seibold, who is contracted to Brisbane for five years, can implement structures that eventually delivers the Broncos’ first premiership since 2006.
“Is there someone (special) coming through, I’m sure there will be,” Hancock said.
“We need to give them time and it will take some time, we are rebuilding everywhere … the coaching staff, the whole organisation is adapting around the new coach’s philosophy.
“I don’t want to throw the baby out with the bath water just yet, it can change, but players have done things with Wayne Bennett for so long.”