Sam Thaiday has warned Brisbane's woes could snowball into long-term problems for the NRL club and its young talent if they don't turn their form around fast under Anthony Seibold.
Pressure on Seibold is close to breaking point after the Broncos' woeful 48-0 flogging at the hands of the Wests Tigers on Friday night - their worst performance of a dreadful season.
Brisbane (3-7) remain in 14th place, but they have now endured their worst start in both attack and defence through the opening 10 rounds of a season, after losing seven of their last eight games.
Seibold has reportedly been handed an ultimatum that his side must win five of their last 10 games in 2020 or the final three years of his five-year contract will be in jeopardy.
Brisbane great Thaiday on Sunday added to growing calls for Seibold to make mass changes, including the axing of some of the side's bigger names.
But he was more concerned about the impact Broncos' run of heavy losses could be having on the squad's many up-and-coming players, fearing if it could leave longer-lasting scars on the club.
"It is the kids. That's the thing that scares me the most about the club at the moment.
We have these young kids playing that aren't winning games of football," Thaiday told Nine's Sunday Footy Show.
"If this is your first or second season and this is what you're constantly dishing up ... it can be fairly heartbreaking.
"And the snowball effect of that is if the Broncos have a couple of lean years where they aren't successful, our recruiting goes downhill as well.
"Why would Jonny want to come and sign with the Brisbane Broncos when the Roosters are chasing him as well?
"He's going to want to play for a successful club."
Thaiday was scathing in his assessment of Brisbane' performance on Friday night, labelling it "woeful" and "not a first-grade effort at all".
Former Broncos hooker Michael Ennis also labelled it the worst he had seen from the club, while Chris Johns led calls for change at the club.
Brisbane are now ranked in the bottom two for points conceded, penalties, run metres and run metres conceded.
Brisbane's list of remaining matches is also most concerning for Seibold given the reported ultimatum.
They have only beaten last-placed Canterbury since the shutdown, and have games against front-runners Parramatta, Melbourne, Canberra, Penrith and the Sydney Roosters to come.
Friday night's clash with the Storm shapes as a crucial match, given the pressure will only grow if they are handed a heavy defeat from the NRL heavyweights.
"He (Seibold) needs to take some pages out of Michael Maguire's book and say I am going to make some tough calls here," Thaiday said.
"And I am going to sit some big-name players and key players for a couple of weeks so everyone knows they are accountable for what they do on the field."