Wayne Bennett hinted he would quit as Queensland Origin rugby league coach to focus solely on the Brisbane Broncos.
Bennett told Sydney radio 2SM the Broncos had suffered over the past three years since he took over as Maroons coach following stints in 1986-88 and 1998.
Brisbane suffered its seventh straight defeat, at the hands of an injury-ravaged St George Illawarra at Suncorp Stadium, to place their NRL finals campaign in danger.
"It's been similar for the past three years but the significant thing has been my involvement," said Bennett.
"The trends have been exactly the same, at the same part of the year at the same time."
Asked whether he would be coaching the Maroons in 2004, Bennett replied: "I wouldn't say that definitely, but you can tell ... the huge impact that that's had."
Maroons assistant coach Michael Hagan and Penrith mentor John Lang would be favourites to replace Bennett as Queensland coach if he resigned.
The Broncos provided up to 11 players in this year's Origin series and Bennett said it had taken its toll.
"It's like coaching in three grand finals and I'm asking a huge amount of them in those games," said Bennett, who added the Broncos often struggled for enthusiasm after the Origin series.
"Over the last three years the situation has been exactly the same and it's too obvious to say 'gee that's not a problem'."
Bennett said since 2001 the Broncos had led the competition prior to the Origin series only to fade in the home stretch.
"We get to the business end of the season and mate we're going out the back door and they (the players) think it doesn't matter," he said.
Bennett was scathing of the Broncos' performance in front of 35,587 fans, in particular two soft tries scored by Dragons hooker Mark Riddell, who kicked the winning conversion to secure an upset 26-25 victory.
"They've put plenty of effort in but gee it's been misguided sometimes," the coach said of the eighth-placed Broncos.
"You can't play at this level and let two dummy-half tries in like that.
"You can't do that, I don't care who you're playing."
Bennett was upset the Dragons weren't made to work for their four tries, noting they were all scored without any ball movement.
"But that's attitude. They (the Broncos) know how to tackle and they're strong enough to hold a guy off the line if they want to."Like