There was no shortage of critics after Brisbane experienced their worst loss in club history for the second time in five NRL games on Thursday night.
But coach Anthony Seibold said it was too early to judge his battered side after their humiliating 59-0 defeat by a rampant Sydney Roosters due to their long list of sidelined stars.
The Broncos were so embarrassed post-game that Seibold claimed players couldn't even look at their teammates after being "bullied" in the 10-try romp that he described as "men against boys".
Players couldn't even face the media, opting not to attend the post match press conference despite being obligated to do so under NRL guidelines.
But it will be hard to avoid the scathing criticism of the loss, with some of the game's greats queuing up to bag them.
Immortal Andrew Johns labelled them "soft".
Queensland great Paul Vautin said they were "diabolical".
Sensing the backlash to come, Seibold took full responsibility just like he did at their last record defeat not so long ago - a 58-0 finals loss to Parramatta last year.
But he believed the yardstick could not be applied to his side until they were back to full strength.
"With almost $4 million worth of salary cap out I thought it was the best side we could come up with," Seibold said.
"We have come out of Covid and haven't fired a shot. Can we turn it around in a week - I am not sure.
"The scoreboard and the performance was totally unacceptable (but) I believe in the group but this their journey - I just didn't think it would be so bumpy."
Asked if the team was "buying into his message", Seibold said: "Let's get our strongest team on the park and if we come up with a performance like that then I would have to ask the question - can they do what I want them to do?"
Reinforcements won't be arriving any time soon.
Hooker Jake Turpin (leg fracture) missed the Roosters rout, joning captain Alex Glenn (leg,) David Fifita (knee), Tevita Pangai (suspension) and Jack Bird (knee) on the sidelines.
Rugby convert Ben Te'o re-signed with the Broncos for the rest of 2020 - seven years after leaving the club - on Thursday but Seibold said he was weeks away from playing.
Centre Kotoni Staggs is the only player that will be welcomed back for next week's clash with Manly after completing a one match ban.
Optimism was hard to find post-match but Seibold took some solace in the Roosters being in a similar hole just four years ago before emerging as an NRL powerhouse.
"It's quite interesting. I think back to 2016 they finished 15th and there was one game I remember watching and they got beaten 46-0 by Melbourne.
"I remember them talking about having seven players with under 40 games (experience) on that day.
"We had 10 players under 30 and two making their debut (Corey Paix, Tesi Niu on Thursday).
"I take some lessons about what they have done over the last couple of years since a pretty dark time - but we are in that furnace at the moment."
Australian Associated Press