The Broncos have become obsessed with what’s being said about them and should ban social media ASAP, NRL great Brad Fittler says.
Club legend and director Darren Lockyer admitted on Sunday that attacks on the Broncos from former players had become a distraction.
Brisbane players were in tears on Saturday night after recording their sixth consecutive loss, falling to the Warriors after it was revealed during the week that some Broncos stars had copped death threats.
Fittler said that besieged coach Anthony Seibold, who was publicly backed by Broncos chief executive Paul White on Sunday, needed to take away outside negative influences by enforcing a social media blackout.
“It is only six games. I think what they’re going through at the moment is they’re so uptight. To see it just well over with a lot of the blokes crying after the game and being cuddled by the opposition was quite amazing, really,” Fittler said on The Sunday Footy Show.
“A lesson in distractions would be pretty important at the moment at the Broncos, to be able to get rid of everything that everyone else is saying, because that really doesn’t matter at all.
“The first thing they’ve got to do is get rid of all that crap, because all they speak about is the public’s opinion of them and how everyone’s smashing them. I don’t hear much about the footy; I want to know why – the tactics – why they’re not playing good footy, why they’re letting in all the tries.
“There’s so much invested in this other life they have, the social media side and other people’s opinions of them that it’s just overriding what they’re doing wrong on the field.
“That (being exposed to online death threats) is ridiculous, to be even part of that. For them to be even involved in that part of their life at the moment is just a sign of how sort of immature the group is.
“Put your phone away, don’t buy a newspaper, turn the news off and go to training. Simply.
“How you allow that to well up and be so uptight is just crazy. It’s just 101.”
Asked if it was realistic to enforce a media blockout in the digital age, Fittler insisted: “Of course it’s realistic.
“No, they don’t [live online]. Not everyone does live online, no they don’t … you don’t have to. It’s not compulsory and all it does is make your life worse.
“Seriously, as a coach, you’ve just got to be saying, ‘Mate, if I see any of you on that [social media], you’re not in the team. I can’t have any distractions at the moment.
“It’s just 101, it’s not even a question. It’s just where you start from. That way you can go, ‘Tick that off, now let’s go and work out why we’re losing’.”
Peter Sterling added: “Ignorance is bliss, in regards to this. When you’ve got a job to do … there’s enough pressure there without external pressure adding to it.”
Lockyer weighs in on Broncos woes
Lockyer admitted that the Broncos were struggling with their lack of success and subsequent criticism from ex-players.
“Everyone’s hurting, it’s disappointing, it’s sad, it’s frustrating, it’s a lot of emotions” Lockyer said on The Sunday Footy Show.
“I know that they guys are doing all they can to turn things around but it’s just a bit sad when the effort doesn’t get the rewards.
“I think it becomes a distraction (ex-players’ criticism). It just comes with the Broncos being a big team in a big town and a lot of expectation comes with that.
“Particularly for the younger ones, it’s probably a big distraction, but the only way to sort of silence people is to play well and win.
“it’s just a difficult time for them right now of their development. They’re learning. Distractions don’t help, but it’s no reason not to play well.
“[Seibold] is like the players. He’s put a lot of hard work and effort into getting them ready for the game and when they don’t get the result, it’s disappointing and it hurts and it makes for another tough week at the Broncos, because they just want to focus on their job and do their thing, but there’s going to be a lot spoken about the club again this week.”
Lockyer admitted, as he did last week, that the club had not made the right calls on its roster make-up. The Broncos are extremely inexperienced and the lack of veteran toughness in the team has been badly exposed.
“I think we’ve just got to make some better decisions moving forward,” Lockyer said, adding that he was not aware of division among players. Inaugural Broncos captain Wally Lewis claimed that jealousy existed within the Broncos squad over big salaries paid to certain stars.
CEO backs Broncos coach Seibold
Sterling said that the Broncos had clearly tried hard against the Warriors.
“I know they’ve conceded a stack of points of late but look at last night … I didn’t see a lack of effort from them,” Sterling said.
“When there’s no effort, that’s when you’ve got a real concern. If that effort’s not leading to the desired result, then either the effort is misdirected or it’s too individual, that they’re all kind of working in their own [direction] and the person next to them is not the consideration as well.
“The saving grace is certainly the reaction after last night, it shows how much they care. But they didn’t get beaten, I didn’t think, on effort last night; so you’ve got that to work with.”
Sterling said that speculation over internal divisions at the Broncos was pointless.
“But what we’re seeing on the field is a stack of talent that just isn’t putting it together,” he said.
“We talk about defence being attitude, so there may be a problem with some kind of attitude there. But it’s very difficult to have a look and say, ‘This is what’s going wrong with the Brisbane Broncos’, because there’d be a myriad of things that just add up and they’ve got to work their way through all of those.”
Fittler added: “They’ve got to turn it into a way to work together. They’re working on their own, they’re all angry and angry on their own.”