Cooper Cronk's warning about Adam Reynolds amid concerning NRL fallout at Broncos

Brisbane are reeling on the back of three straight losses in the NRL.

Cooper Cronk has exposed a concerning truth for the out-of-sorts Brisbane Broncos after warning Kevin Walters' side that the return of Adam Reynolds is not likely to fix some of the club's glaring issues. The Broncos went into the season as one of the competition favourites after falling just short in last year's NRL grand final but they've now lost three straight games to drop out of the top eight.

Brisbane's captain and inspirational halfback Reynolds has been missing since suffering a ruptured bicep in the round nine loss to the Roosters that's set to rule him out for around three months. While the return of Reynolds for the back half of the season will undoubtedly provide the Broncos with a massive boost, it's the nature of Brisbane's recent losses that has Cronk concerned.

NRL great Cooper Cronk has warned the Broncos that the return of halfback and captain Adam Reynolds will not be a magic fix for the side's issues. Pic: Getty
NRL great Cooper Cronk has warned the Broncos that the return of halfback and captain Adam Reynolds will not be a magic fix for the side's issues. Pic: Getty

The Broncos coughed up leads in two out of three of their most recent losses - against Cronulla and the Gold Coast. They were then largely outplayed by the Rabbitohs in round 15, with Jordan Riki's two-match ban for an off-the-ball shot on Cameron Murray merely compounding Brisbane's issues.

But it's the shocking completion rate of Walters' side that is particularly alarming, with the Broncos' coach labelling their display against the Sharks as his side's "worst half of football". The Broncos completed at just 67% and made nine errors and it's been a common theme for the side this season, with Brisbane leading the NRL for errors (165) and having the worst completion rate of all 17 teams (76%).

The Broncos have the bye this week which will see them nestled amongst the clubs in an around the top eight but would probably prefer to be in a stronger position during what is typically a challenging period around State of Origin when the club always loses multiple players to rep footy. And Cronk has warned Brisbane that the return of Reynolds for the back half of the season will not be a magic fix if the Broncos can't cut out the basic errors from their game.

“I’m worried because when you remove someone like Adam Reynolds from your team you can’t create bad habits in your game and then expect Adam to come back and fix everything,” he said on the Matty Johns podcast. “The example is Penrith. (When) you take Nathan out their completion rate doesn’t change, their defence doesn’t change. They’re still working hard for one another. Then, when Nathan comes in an adds his spice, it’s great.”

Seen here, Adam Reynolds after suffering a bicep injury in Brisbane's round nine defeat to the Roosters in the NRL.
Adam Reynolds was ruled out for around three months after suffering a bicep injury in Brisbane's round nine defeat to the Roosters in the NRL. Pic: Getty

Johns added: “It’s been one of the secrets of them winning the competition during those years, losing Nathan for a period and forcing them to tidy up and improve areas of their game.” Cronk argued that where the Panthers tend to "double down on the basics" in the absence of their own inspirational halfback, the Broncos have done the opposite and are paying the price for trying to overplay their hand in games.

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“The issue I have with the Broncos right now is their completion rate is poor, they’re conceding way too many points and they are just throwing the ball (and) expecting talent to get them over the line,” Cronk said. Walters admitted after last week's defeat to the Rabbitohs that it's an issue his side needs to urgently address.

“We’ve got the worst completion rate in the competition, which makes you do more work in defence. I’m frustrated. I can’t imagine how the players are,” the Brisbane coach said. “We’ve got to hold the ball and build pressure. And that’s going to help our game so much. Until we do that, this will keep happening.”