Mr Experience Wayne Bennett has his team well prepared for yet another NRL Finals assault in 2008. The departing coach having a record the envy of all other clipboard men in the game, such is his unique preparation for a finals assault – new Broncos signings remark at his professional approach.
Stats wise, Wayne Bennett has steered his Broncos team into 18 NRL Finals Series’ out of 21 years at Brisbane.
There is no question he will be sorely missed as he leaves for Sydney club St George Illawarra for the 2009 NRL season.
Out of a total 44 NRL finals games played, Bennett’s team has won 23 times, winning the competition 6 times from 6 grand final appearances, a statistic that no other Rugby League coach can come close to.
Bennett’s impressive NRL finals record and wealth of experience at this time of the year didn’t go unnoticed by players at Broncos training this week. The likes of Joel Clinton, Peter Wallace and Ashton Sims all impressed and feeling confident under their new master.
These guys in their first full season at the Broncos were particularly blown away by how relaxed Bennett was today and throughout the week.
New front rower Joel Clinton felt this week that Bennett may increase training demands and turn on the pressure valve but was impressed by a high quality shortened training workout.
“I’ve been under a couple of other coaches and he’s got a different outlook on finals football,” said Clinton
They usually ramp it right up coming into the finals and turn the heat up at training.
“But Wayne makes it shorter and sharper and gets you so relaxed that he brings you back down to earth.
“It’s so enjoyable. You want to turn up to training every day and there’s a real good vibe around the place.”
Teammate and also a first year recruit at Brisbane Ashton Sims, who tasted September footy with St George Illawarra, felt exactly the same away about Bennett’s outlook towards finals Rugby League.
“Obviously this is the first time for me at Brisbane, but he’s pretty cool about the whole thing,” said Sims.
“He probably should be, he’s been to them 20-odd times before so he knows what works and what doesn’t.
“His sessions are short and intense, which seems to work well.”
For the Sydney Roosters, they will be without the services of big name forward Willie Mason (knee) but were boosted by the news veteran bookend Mark O’Meley was able to escape suspension as they try to ensure their engine room up front remains in tact.
The statistics for the Bondi men aren’t too great against the Broncos. However, a big crowd at the Chook-pen will help boost the early season front runners.
Broncos forward Sam Thaiday has been hit hard by a virus, but is battling to be fit to run on; with most punters expecting him to take the field.
Even at the SFS, Brisbane’s record over the Roosters is scary. In 5 matches since 2003, the Broncos have got the chocolates on every occasion.
In total, the ledger between Brisbane and Sydney is 11-5 in the Broncos favour.