Broncos' Carrigan slams 'soft underbelly'

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Claims from former players that Brisbane's current NRL crop have gone soft are fair enough, returning prop Pat Carrigan admits.

Carrigan's four-match suspension has coincided with the Broncos' spiral from top-four contenders to likely also-rans ahead of their final-round clash with St George Illawarra on Saturday.

Conceding 113 points in their last two games, ninth-placed Brisbane must now beat the Dragons and hope last-placed Wests Tigers upset Canberra in the regular-season's final fixture on Sunday.

Their demise was embodied by passionate coach Kevin Walters' raging post-game address after Thursday's loss to Parramatta.

Responding to suggestions some players took offence to the spray, club greats Gorden Tallis and Steve Renouf took aim.

Tallis said those players complaining should be dropped, while Renouf tweeted "precious, soft, privileged knobs, toughen up boys".

Speaking to reporters on Monday ahead of his return, Carrigan said the playing group had no issues with Walters' address but that he understood the criticism.

"We've had a bit of a soft underbelly the last few weeks ... embarrassing to be honest," Carrigan said.

"Rugby league is a bit of a 'me against you' kind of game; if you want to run harder than I want to tackle you, then the proof's in the pudding.

"They're greats of the club. It stings you when there are comments like that but I know they come from the right place when you scrape it back."

Carrigan has remained a major dressing room voice during his suspension, and admits there was a lack of belief and poor attitude behind the "cascade" of recent weeks.

Walters' response to the drubbings appears to be a recall for the off-contract Tyson Gamble, who is unbeaten in the eight NRL games he's played for Brisbane this season.

Gamble trained in the top squad on Monday, with Ezra Mam relegated to the reserves, while Adam Reynolds (concussion) also trained in a non-contact bib.

Controversially rested last week, winger Selwyn Cobbo was also back with the top squad on Monday at Red Hill but Kobe Hetherington (concussion) appears an unlikely starter.

"I know when Tyson pulls on a Broncos jersey he's all-in and never going to get beaten on effort," Carrigan said.

Carrigan, man of the series in this year's State of Origin, was suspended for an ugly hip-drop tackle that fractured Jackson Hastings' right fibula and damaged his ankle ligaments.

He sent Hastings a message of apology, one the Wests Tigers half appreciated by saying he hoped Carrigan played for Australia at this year's World Cup.

"He's a good fella, he replied and said all I have to do is shout him a beer," Carrigan said.

"I might shout him a few if those things eventuate at the end of the year."