Coach Kevin Walters believes Brisbane are on track to return to the NRL finals after overcoming injury to provide a fond farewell to retiring captain Alex Glenn with an upset 35-22 win over Newcastle.

Former glamour team the Broncos drew the curtain on a difficult 2021 under rookie mentor Walters by registering just their seventh win of the year with the six-tries-to-four triumph at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday.

Brisbane upset the finals-bound Knights despite losing inspirational prop Payne Haas (ankle) and hooker Jake Turpin (broken jaw) in the first half.

The Broncos (7-17 record) leapfrogged North Queensland to finish third-last this season after collecting their first wooden spoon in 2020.

But Walters believed the signs were good for a rebuilding Brisbane to give the top eight a shake sooner rather than later under his watch.

“Our goal next year is to win more games than we lose. If we do that than we can (play finals footy) – but the ingredients are there,” he said.

“I know there is a different mentality in that dressing room now, about playing for each other and all that the club represents.

“It has taken a long time but from where we started in March and where we are now we have made some really good progress.”

Indeed the future looks bright for Brisbane judging by Saturday’s victory.

Both fullback Tesi Niu, 20, and 19-year-old centre Selwyn Cobbo scored a try and set up another to help Brisbane kick on from their 18-4 halftime lead.

Centre Herbie Farnworth, 21, also impressed with a try and a line break while finishing with a team high 167 running metres.

“It was important that we finished strongly and came away with a win,” Walters said.

“You are only as good as your last game. This game will stay with them right through the off-season.”

Asked if he wanted an extended period as coach to ensure a Broncos recovery, Walters – off contract next year – said: “Of course I do.

“I love the place and I want to see us grow as a club.

“We are a big club … and we need to reward those who support us.

“Today was a good reward for those people. Is there more to come? My word there is.”

Walters paid tribute to Glenn, who bowed out a winner in his 285th and final game for Brisbane.

“He typifies what a real Bronco looks like,” he said.

He also gave a nod to South Sydney-bound playmaker Anthony Milford who scored a 42nd-minute try, set up three others before icing the result with a 76th-minute field goal.

“Milf was in everything again today. He is off to Souths next year – they have got a good one,” Walters said.

Future bright for Broncos: Walters
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