An apologetic Sam Thaiday says his players will deliver Brisbane fans plenty of wins this season despite being overcome 22-14 by Manly in their NRL opener at Suncorp Stadium on Friday night.
Many of the club's 1988 foundation players - including legend Wally Lewis, Allan Langer, Gene Miles, Greg Dowling and Bryan Niebling - were in the 31,000-strong crowd as Brisbane surrendered a 14-6 halftime lead to Manly who hammered them up the middle and beat them out wide.
The deflated Broncos players showed better evasive skills dodging the media after the loss than they did against Manly before Thaiday finally emerged from the dressing room 90 minutes after the game.
"It's pretty tough. Those guys were the originals, they started this fantastic club that we have the honour of playing for," said Thaiday, disappointed with the result but speaking positively about the season.
"I hope throughout the year we'll be able to replay them by winning a lot of games.
"Fingers crossed and it's a long way away but hopefully we are there in the big game at the end of the year and we can repay them then and celebrate the 25 years the Broncos have been part of the competition.
Thaiday said his current crop of players were still working on continuing the aura the great players before them had created for the club.
"We want to leave our legacy, our own mark here and we'll do that this year, I'm sure we will."
The hurt and disappointment Thaiday saw on the faces of teammates in the dressing room was enough to convince him they would rebound next week against St George Illawarra.
"It means so much to them and it's only a round one game," he said.
"In the past a round one loss would not have meant that much.
"It excites me about the future and excites me about the games to come."
Brisbane's second try to winger Lachlan Maranta in the first half which involved two flick passes from Scott Prince and Justin Hodges was reminiscent of the Broncos of old and something Thaiday said showed the team had the talent.
"There was a bit of razzle dazzle. I almost thought Hodgo had stuffed it up but he just wanted to put the icing on the cake with a flick ball in true Justin Hodges style," he said.
Neither Thaiday, who confessed Brisbane were "too soft" or coach Anthony Griffin who said he felt his played had "rolled over" early in the second half, tried to colour the loss after Manly scored three tries in seven minutes to take the game off Brisbane.
"We have to try and find more enthusiasm coming out of the sheds, Manly came out (in the second half) at a million miles and hour and we just weren't ready for it," Thaiday said.