The struggling Broncos were flying and inside the top four just six weeks ago, but now are clinging on to eighth spot by their fingernails and face a tough final round clash with the Dragons in Sydney next weekend.
WATCH THE VIDEO ABOVE: Kevin Walters unleashes a massive spray on his players.
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Following the limp performance, Walters berated his players in an all-time spray as his side’s finals hopes were left in tatters.
The massacre by the electric Eels was bad enough for eighth-placed Brisbane’s for and against, but in a further hammer blow, their talismanic halfback Adam Reynolds failed an HIA in his 250th NRL game after leaving the field in the 13th minute.
That dire scenario was compounded by prop Tom Flegler being put on report for a shoulder charge on Reagan Campbell-Gillard before being taken to hospital with a throat injury.
“It was terrible. We didn’t start very well and finished poorly as well,” Walters said of the display.
The slumping Broncos, walloped 60-12 the previous week by Melbourne, are on 28 premiership points with a points difference of -26.
The door is now open for Canberra, in ninth on 26 points and with a -25 points difference, to move into the top eight with a win over Manly on Saturday.
Walters said he was hopeful of getting skipper Reynolds back for next week’s crucial away clash with St George Illawarra.
“(The big loss) is disappointing for everyone but we are forever looking for the positive. We are still alive against the Dragons next week,” Walters said.
“We get Patty (Carrigan) and (Selwyn) Cobbo back. We just need to fix our defence more than anything and our attitude.”
The fifth-placed Eels, on 32 points, will now finish sixth at worst and are still a chance of making it into fourth if they beat Melbourne next week and the Storm lose to the Roosters on Friday night.
“I think we are in a better position than we were this time last year,” Eels coach Brad Arthur said.
“The boys showed a lot of want and desire and we need to make sure we do that next week against a (Storm) team that is hitting form.”
Eels back-rower Shaun Lane was in superb form and had three try involvements by half-time.
“Laney is probably our most reliable player at the moment. Every week he is doing his job,” Arthur said.
Winger Maika Sivo scored his 12th try in nine games against Brisbane after Lane unleashed a killer offload to ignite the Eels.
Lane put Sivo away and the flying Fijian kicked infield with superb skill for Tom Opacic to make it 12-0.
Eels half Mitchell Moses ignited one try for Clint Gutherson and started and finished a movement to score himself.
Lane iced the first half with another blockbusting run and offload to hand Gutherson his second try and give the Eels a 31-6 lead at the break.
Brisbane lost Kobe Hetherington to an HIA in the second-half and Brenko Lee with a leg injury to compound their woes.
The Eels kicked away with four more tries as Gutherson reigned supreme.
The form of the Broncos, now with four losses in their past five games, has fallen off a cliff. The Eels have regained their mojo with four wins out of their last five and loom as genuine title threats.
– With AAP