Brisbane coach Wayne Bennett says the late-season injury to Darius Boyd had echoes of Allan Langer during the Bronco's 2002 finals campaign.
The Broncos' gamble playing the skipper failed to pay dividends at AAMI Park as they fell 30-0 in their preliminary final to Melbourne to bow out of the finals race.
Boyd, who injured his hamstring in the final round and missed their opening two finals, looked restricted from the opening whistle.
He couldn't lay a hand on lightning Storm winger Josh Addo-Carr as he stepped in and around him to score a crucial try just before halftime.
The fullback also carried a heavy emotional weight after losing his grandmother this week.
Boyd admitted after the game that the injury "wasn't 100 per cent" but said it was good enough to play.
Bennett said a full-strength Boyd may have made the difference and recalled Langer's broken thumb in 2002 also hampering their finals charge.
The Broncos also crashed out in the grand final qualifier that season, losing to eventual premiers the Sydney Roosters 16-12.
"Darius would have been a different player tonight if he came into this game having played the last three or four weeks for us," Bennett said.
"I thought we would have won the grand final (in 2002) if Allan Langer hadn't broken his thumb five weeks out from the play-offs.
"When he came back in for the play-offs like Darius did he wasn't the same player he was before.
"We needed what Darius brings and what Alf brought in that era so it does have an impact."
Brisbane's other injury concern, winger Corey Oates, was backing up after he was knocked out in a sickening on-field collision during his team's semi-final win over Penrith last week.
Brisbane were adamant he passed all medical tests to be fit for the sudden-death encounter.
Oates missed a key opportunity to give his side the lead early in the first half when his opposite Suliasi Vunivalu knocked the ball from his hands as he appeared destined to score the game's opening try.
Bennett said he was happy with Oates' contribution.
"I thought he played a pretty strong game," he said.
"He had a few handling errors ... but his defence was good and he carried the ball strong."