Tallis: Broncos now a soulless club
The fabric of the Brisbane Broncos was carefully crafted by many influential figures over the past 32 years.
It started with players like Wally Lewis, Allan Langer, Gene Miles and Greg Dowling when the Broncos were created in 1988.
Bit by bit, the Broncos came to life. The club constructed its culture and purpose, creating history along the way with six premierships.
Kevin Walters added his part. Shane Webcke and Glenn Lazarus left a mark. Wayne Bennett helped mould it together.
That fabric is now unravelling thread by thread. As each week passes, the Broncos lose another piece of their soul.
After showing improvement against Manly and with their best team on paper in weeks, the Broncos had everything to play for on Thursday night against Newcastle.
Instead, they turned in an insipid performance lacking everything that being a Bronco used to mean and lost 27-6.
Immortal Andrew Johns is one of the game's greatest minds and he was horrified by what he saw, slamming the Broncos' lack of effort, desire and competitive hunger. The Broncos looked rudderless and soulless.
This is a club that has forgotten what it is. The Broncos have lost their identity and there are many reasons for it.
Current captain Alex Glenn has spoken about wanting the truth so here it is.
There has been a concerted push from the powers within to disconnect Brisbane's ex-players from the club.
Many club legends have nothing to do with the Broncos anymore and it kills them to not be part of something they cherish so dearly.
A rookie coach in Anthony Seibold with no NRL premiership success should not have been handed a five-year contract by CEO Paul White.
Darren Lockyer remains heavily involved, but do the people in charge of the Broncos now understand the fabric of the club and why you play there?
They are trying to change the club and I don't know why you'd change something that is so successful.
Kevin Walters should have been given the opportunity to succeed Wayne Bennett as coach because he is part of that fabric. He is the Broncos.
The last time Anthony Milford played consistently good football was when Walters was guiding him at Red Hill as an assistant to Bennett.
The players have lost their desire under Seibold and that was evident against the Knights.
I will never criticise a player's ability because they are born with that and can only physically do so much.
What I will be critical of is their effort and that has been lacking for many recently.
The fans are everyday people. They are tradies, nurses and teachers. They spend their days working hard and expect their team to do the same.
The Broncos are missing that desire and also the players to make the club great again.
They have missed signing players like Johnathan Thurston, Cameron Smith, Cooper Cronk and Daly Cherry-Evans from right under their noses, only to see them lead other clubs to great heights.
The Broncos need only look at the recent rise of clubs like Canberra and Manly to understand how important it is to respect the fabric of the franchise.
The Raiders have become a force under Ricky Stuart and the Sea Eagles are playing well above their weight with Des Hasler back in charge.
Des and Ricky helped build their clubs and it is not a coincidence they are now getting the best out of them.
It happened when Mal Meninga took charge of the Queensland Origin team. He turned three consecutive series losses in an eight-straight dynasty.
Every Queensland player now knows what it means to pull on the Maroons jersey.
Some teams can only succeed when they respect and honour the foundations they were built on.
No one had a bigger impact at the Broncos than Allan Langer.
He was the team joker and everyone's friend, but when you got on the field you knew where you stood because of "Alfie".
He drove the Broncos' standards. He would tell players to get off the field during a game if they weren't performing.
I wonder how many players would have got a tap on the shoulder from Alfie during the past four weeks.
That was part of the Broncos fabric and like many other threads it is now gone.
Originally published as Broncos a soulless club that has lost its hard won identity