Recap of last season
It was an almost-there-but-not-quite season for the Broncos in 2022. The rebuild is clearly working through with visible signs of improvement and with the arrival of a gun new player in Reece Walsh the Broncos will be hoping this is the season where the rebuild ends in finals.
Winning just one game of their last six saw the Broncos jump out of finals contention with just a few weeks to go. Silly mistakes and a lack of consistency meant the Broncos finished ninth in 2023.
Blooding young players was key in the back half of season 2022 and while it ended in two losses by more than 50 points, playing the youngsters should help build the depth that the Broncos lacked in 2022.
How can they improve
There is one key area the Broncos need to improve in 2022 and that's in the defensive half. They finished with the least about of tackles in the opposition 20.
Building pressure is key both on the offensive end and defensive end and the fact they finished last in this area in 2022 despite finishing ninth on the ladder shows a lack of discipline and care when the ball isn't in hand.
IN: Logan Bayliss, Jock Madden, Ethan Quai-Ward, Tyson Smoothy, Martin Taupau, Reece Walsh
OUT: Tyson Gamble, Zac Hosking, Jamayne Isaako, Ryan James, Rhys Kennedy, Brenko Lee, Te Maire Martin, David Mead, Tesi Niu, Jake Turpin
This season the Broncos look like a very deep side and the addition of Reece Walsh at the No.1 should make a massive difference to the run and offensive game. Selwyn Cobbo being the number two choice at fullback is incredible when you consider he finished with 15 tries overall last year, the 10th best in the NRL.
No doubt that Cobbo will find himself home in another position, he's simply too good to leave out. Adam Reynolds being in the halves offers plenty of experience and in-game thinking while being able to build the game of young gun Ezra Mam.
Perhaps the best aspect of the Brocnos game in 2023 though is the forwards. With Haas and Carrigan leading the pack, they are extremely strong in this area but more importantly have the massive depth for when Origin or if unfortunate injuries hit through the season.
As mentioned above it's been the defence of the Broncos that has let them down in recent years. Averaging 295.6 tackles per match, 13th in the competition was just not good enough.
If the Broncos want to get into the top eight this year this needs to be an area of improvement. The good news for them though is the bye. It seemed fatigued late in the season was a major issue and having an extra week off per season should make a big difference.
It will be overcoming fatigue that coach Walters needs to focus on. It was clear the boys were done post-Origin last year and hopefully through some good pre-season training the Broncos will be able to have a little bit more staying power through to finals.
With the hooker position being one that the Brocnos may struggle with in 2023 the young gun Blake Mozer should get some game time through the season.
With a tackle efficiency of more than 90% in the three games he played last season, Mozer should also add to the defensive stocks which have been weak in past seasons. However, with Billy Walters and Cory Paix seemingly in front of him, it may take until the second half of the season till we see Mozer.
The Broncos have made clear improvements to their squad and have clearly been working on building year after year. If the squad can stick together through the entire season, rather than just the first half like last season then there is no doubt a top-eight finish is theirs.
However, if the consistency doesn't happen and they fall away in the back half just like last year then there will no doubt be pressure on both the senior players and the coaching staff.
Reece Walsh is obviously a massive inclusion and has been a gun for the last few years. The team will no doubt be built around him going forward and he could be the difference between how deep into finals they go.
Predicted ladder position: 8th
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