Don't blame Benji Marshall for Brisbane Broncos loss - Kevin Walters

Benji Marshall started in the halves as the Brisbane Broncos fell to the Sydney Roosters in their NRL qualifying final.
CAMERON SPENCER/GETTY IMAGES

Benji Marshall started in the halves as the Brisbane Broncos fell to the Sydney Roosters in their NRL qualifying final.

Leave Benji Marshall out of it.

That was the message from ex-Brisbane skipper Kevin Walters, who believed the halves were the least of the Broncos' problems ahead of Friday night's NRL semifinal with Penrith at Suncorp Stadium.

Broncos coach Wayne Bennett raised eyebrows when he stuck with veteran Marshall at halfback for the knockout clash after a quiet display in their qualifying final loss to Sydney Roosters.

But ex-premiership winning Broncos captain Walters believed Marshall should not be made the scapegoat for the defeat that plunged Brisbane into sudden death mode.

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"Benji is an experienced enough player. They have bigger problems than their halves," Walters said.

"It's wrong to blame just one person for the loss."

Former Broncos half Walters said rather than point fingers Brisbane would need to take a good hard look at themselves - again.

He said Brisbane dusted themselves off and bounced back to their best after their horror 52-34 round 25 loss to Parramatta and would need to do the same against Penrith on Friday night.

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"They have some great players in their squad, they just need to get them up to the standard they can play at," Walters said of Brisbane.

"They turned it around a couple of weeks ago after the Parramatta loss.

"It is just a mental thing at this time of the year.

"I am sure they will adjust and pick themselves up. I'd be disappointed if they didn't."

Marshall may yet lose his starting halves spot in a backline reshuffle if skipper Darius Boyd is cleared of a hamstring complaint.

Fullback Boyd was named at 18th man and will be given until the last minute to prove his fitness.

Marshall may be relegated to the bench if Boyd is passed fit.

Asked if Brisbane could win without Boyd, Walters said: "I think they can.

"While the evidence that we have seen without him (against the Roosters) is not good they have some good players there, they just need to get them playing well.

"Regardless if he is there or not you would expect them to put in a good hard effort."

 - AAP

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