Corey Parker calls out Panthers detail in startling claim about former NRL team Broncos

The Broncos are fighting to make the NRL top eight after a poor run.

Broncos great Corey Parker has questioned whether Kevin Walters' men will be able to make a run into the NRL top eight having singled out a Penrith Panthers detail in 2024. The Broncos lost their fourth consecutive NRL game last weekend when they went down to the reigning champions Penrith.

Coach Walters came under heavy criticism after resting his State of Origin representatives the week before in their loss to the Warriors. Despite a number of injury concerns in 2024, including the long absence of Adam Reynolds, the Broncos are facing the potential of missing out on the top eight.

Broncos great Corey Parker has questioned whether Kevin Walters' (pictured right) men are matching the efforts of 2024. (Getty Images)
Broncos great Corey Parker has questioned whether Kevin Walters' (pictured right) men are matching the efforts of 2024. (Getty Images)

This would be a disaster for the club having entered the season as one of the strong favourites after reaching the grand final last year. Walters has defended his recent choices to rest the likes of Reece Walsh, Payne Haas and Patrick Carrigan in order to keep them fresh for finals footy.

However, the Broncos are facing the prospect of dropping even further behind the top eight this weekend if they don't defeat the Dragons. Resting players won't matter if they don't even make the NRL finals. Walters once again will be without a number of representatives this week due to Origin and a loss could see them drop to 14th and four points adrift.

And club great Parker has questioned whether the team is putting in the same effort this year, which is needed to sustain success. Parker alluded to the Panthers' success over a number of years, while the Broncos have let some important areas drop off.

One area that has not carried over from 2023 is their defence. Last year the Broncos were the second best defensive side, but this year they have dropped to eighth. And Parker has questioned the team's mindset.

“Just because you played in a Grand Final, doesn’t mean you’ll get back there the next year,” Parker said on SEN Radio. “It is absolutely remarkable to think the Penrith Panthers have played in four straight Grand Finals and won three, incredible, one of the best sides in the modern era.

“The Brisbane Broncos last year paid a price, they paid a price each and every week, it was evident and on show to see – the desire, the intent, the connectivity, the resilience of the team week in and week out was on display. If you are not prepared to pay the same price and sacrifice the same things that you did last year, it may only be one or two things off, you will not succeed.

“For me, that has been the difference… over 18 rounds.” Parker was critical of the Broncos' effort areas across 80 minutes in 2024 and said something would need to change to make the top eight.

“At different stages, in moments in games, the Brisbane Broncos have been terrific but throughout the duration of an 80-minute period, have not been where they need to be," he added. “Sure, they’ve had injuries, they’ve had suspensions, they’ve had players who haven’t had a lot of first grade, they don’t have their halfback – these are all excuses."

Adam Reynolds injured.
Adam Reynolds (pictured left) has missed a huge portion of the Broncos' season.

Kevin Walters' side was hit with a further setback on the weekend when replacement halfback Jock Madden walked off injured. Madden limped off with a hamstring injury early in the second half and Walters says he expected the playmaker to be out for at least a month in a devastating new setback for the side.

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It means Brisbane will be forced to turn to their fourth-string option at halfback against the Dragons, with skipper Adam Reynolds and rookie Cody Black also sidelined with injury. Walters has indicated Josh Rogers will be handed the reins for just his third game in the NRL after impressing earlier in the season.