Broncos beaten but no slump: Bennett - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Broncos beaten but no slump: Bennett

By Sharon Mathieson 06/08/2006 08:42:34 PM Comments (0)

The 30-18 scoreline was flattering to Brisbane but still Broncos coach Wayne Bennett refused to concede his team was in a form slump.

Brisbane's loss to Canberra at Canberra Stadium was its fourth consecutive defeat and its sixth loss in its past eight NRL games - statistics that would qualify as a slump for anyone but Bennett.

Instead, Bennett blamed his team's woes on poor decision making and a lack of confidence.

"Your definition of a slump and mine are different," he said.

"You can write what you want, I'm not going to add anything more to it."

Canberra's convincing victory - which followed last week's embarrassing loss to South Sydney - ensured the Raiders moved into the top eight and for the first time this season coach Matthew Elliott spoke publicly about his team's finals prospects.

But rather than praise his players for their solid performance he criticised them for sloppiness that led to a botched try in the opening few minutes and for conceding two tries to Brisbane in the final four minutes.

"We need to be far more ruthless than we demonstrated today," Elliott said.

"I'm totally committed and focused on us competing past the regular season so we need to clean that part of our game up.

"I think it's justifiable for us to have high expectations (in the finals)."

Brisbane led 6-4 after what Bennett rated as his team's best opening half-hour in the last two months.

But it was all downhill from there.

Canberra centre Adam Mogg stole back the lead when he scored a stunning 65m try in the 29th minute after intercepting the ball from Broncos fullback Darius Boyd.

Raiders winger Adrian Purtell managed another spectacular try when he stuck his hand out to intercept a Brent Tate pass, then dived on the ball and did an about face to score.

"You can't afford to throw intercept passes and have two tries scored off you in that position against a team that's on their game and we're struggling with ours a little bit," Bennett said.

After gaining a 14-6 halftime lead Canberra added another three tries in the second stanza courtesy of playmaker Todd Carney, centre Phil Graham and a second try to winger David Howell before Brisbane forward Sam Thaiday scored a much-needed consolation try in the 76th minute and Boyd added another in the dying seconds of the match.

"My disappointment is not so much in their effort but more in their execution and just making good decisions when they are under the pump," he said.

Elliott refused to comment on Brisbane's form but had no hesitation in berating his own club's supporters for their lack of commitment during his time at Canberra.

The Penrith-bound Elliott said he had no qualms about getting Canberra fans offside.

"I'm sick of seeing the stadium half full. It's time for Canberra fans to pull their finger out and come down and watch these guys go round," he said after 13,137 supporters attended the match.

In more bad news for Brisbane, Neville Costigan and Petero Civoniceva were placed on report for a dangerous throw on Kris Kahler in the 60th minute.

Canberra forward Michael Hodgson suffered a shoulder injury while Kahler (knee) and Graham (thumb) were also injured.

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