Warriors coach Stephen Kearney admitted his side were beaten physically as Brisbane ended their five-game winning run to take a gutsy 27-18 NRL victory at Mt Smart Stadium last night.
The Warriors were off the pace from the outset as Brisbane surged deep into their half from the kick-off and the home side lacked the energy of the hard-running Broncos.
In a high-quality game, both sides completed near 90 per cent of their sets but the Broncos had the edge through their enthusiasm and desperation.
Kearney denied his side had grown complacent after their strong season start but conceded his players must learn to mentally prepare themselves every week ahead of next Friday's clash with the table-topping Dragons.
"It's a great lesson for us that regardless of the situation you've still got to make sure that you turn up mentally to get up for the physical battle and challenge," Kearney said.
"I don't think it was everyone, but there were more [players] not quite ready physically tonight than what we've had over the first five weeks. The important thing is the lesson that we take from tonight's loss and it's about making sure that individually and personally, we take some real ownership of the situation, which the lads have, and putting that right.
"That's a mental thing, adjusting your mindset to turn up and making sure that you're prepared to get into the physical side of the game."
Captain Roger Tuivasa-Sheck agreed his side had been unable to match Brisbane's intensity or halt their go-forward as the visitors powered through 254 running metres more than the home side.
Time and again Brisbane wing Corey Oates put his side on the front foot with surging carries on kick returns, while forwards Josh McGuire, Matt Lodge and Joe Ofahengaue were a constant handful.
For the Warriors, back-rower Tohu Harris and prop Agnatius Paasi were strong, but playmakers Shaun Johnson, Blake Green and Issac Luke struggled behind a beaten pack.
"Brisbane came out a lot more physical and we needed to match them up front and a few of the boys put their hand up, they didn't win the physical battle," Tuivasa-Sheck said.
Brisbane coach Wayne Bennett felt the result would not detract from the progress the Warriors have made through the early rounds.
"They started the season well and a defeat's not going to hurt them in that sense because they played pretty well here tonight," he said. "I wouldn't be disappointed in their efforts tonight. They'll pick up the pieces up pretty quickly and move on."