Durkin: Broncos must act after unwanted wake-up call
THIS week we have had a new kitchen installed. No big deal, and absolutely nothing to do with footy, either.
But when six tradesmen lobbed first thing Monday morning - each and every one of them a rusted-on Broncos supporter - cupboards, sinks, benchtops and rangehoods were barely discussed. And for someone closely aligned to the club since its inception, even I found it difficult to mount any kind of defence for the Broncos' appalling performance 18 hours earlier.
Then - with the kitchen guys still around - news broke the following day about players gambling in a pub the night before that disastrous elimination final. I surrendered. There was no fight left in me.
Until then, I had decided I would not embark on a Broncos roast this week. I had my say about the dysfunctional 2019 Broncos seven days ago and was comfortable leaving the onslaught to proud multi-premiership winners Steve Renouf, Kevvie Walters, Glenn Lazarus and co, as well as founding father Barry Maranta.
But my fingers itched. After the pub/pokies revelation, I could not let sleeping dogs lie.
As many have already suggested this week, a serious culture issue exists at Red Hill. For the past few years I have detected a lack of respect/recognition towards those who helped make this club great. And that deficiency is not just from the current crop of players.
Not close enough to the streets of Brisbane, I can't judge whether former skipper Gorden Tallis is on the money when he says the players walk around town as if they own the place. But I would not be surprised if some have inflated egos, just as they have inflated pay packets.
I also understand we live in an ever-changing world. Where once highly-educated exceedingly-clever people earned the big money, now kids just out to school are paid more than our prime minister.
But in the case of the Broncos this past season, not too many could put their hand on their heart and say they actually earned their money - not in the playing arena anyway.
While 2019 may not have been the darkest of the Broncos' 32 seasons in the NRL, it's in the grand final - unlike the team.
And although the end was a disaster in so many ways, the fallout may carry the silver lining which appears long overdue.
Coach Anthony Seibold should now receive the backing of the hierarchy to stamp his absolute imprimatur on the team.
He may have trimmed some dead wood from the tree in his first year, but it's obvious he didn't cut deep enough.
With four years left on his contract, he needs unqualified authority, as Wayne Bennett had in his 25 years at the helm.
Finally, back to the new kitchen. I asked one of the tradesmen - a guy in his 20s probably earning less than a tenth of the salary paid to Anthony Milford - if he was a Broncos supporter. 'I was' came the retort.
And that is the grave reality facing the best-supported franchise - members and sponsor wise - in the NRL.
If, as many suspect, the Broncos organisation has lost contact with the real world, this is the unwanted wake-up call they needed.