Broncos great Gorden Tallis says a Wayne Bennett “myth” in Sydney has been shattered by Brisbane’s dramatic NRL grand final loss to North Queensland.
Bennett had the Midas touch ahead of the first all-Queensland season decider at ANZ Stadium, enjoying a 7-0 record as sole head coach.
He lost the 1987 grand final as Canberra co-coach with Don Furner.
Tallis said the Cowboys’ stunning 17-16 grand final win showed that anyone can taste premiership disappointment in Sydney – even master coach Bennett.
The former Brisbane skipper was also stoked that the final had finally changed the perception that North Queensland couldn’t win due to a perceived finals curse.
The Cowboys were knocked out in the last three finals campaigns in which contentious officials’ calls went against them, before breaking their hoodoo with their maiden title in their 21st anniversary year.
“He’s lost grand finals in Brisbane, he just hasn’t lost them in Sydney,” Tallis told AAP of Bennett, who cut his teeth at Brisbane Souths before his first head coach national gig for Canberra almost 30 years ago.
“Everyone has lost grand finals, you’ve lost them as a kid, as a senior player.
“There’s a huge myth down here (about Bennett).
“It’s like Johnathan Thurston not winning a premiership down here (due to a perceived finals curse) – well now he has won one.”
Tallis – whose stunning 13-season NRL career was ended at Brisbane by a 2004 finals loss to North Queensland – tipped the young Broncos to bounce back next year after overachieving in 2015.
Even Bennett admitted he initially did not believe he could steer Brisbane to the grand final in his first year back at the helm.
Bennett was reappointed Broncos coach this season after seven years away.
“I think that they know they overachieved a little bit this year,” Tallis said of Brisbane.
“The Cowboys’ window was open.
“That young group of men in the Broncos dressing room will be better next year.”
Despite his long and distinguished Broncos career, Townsville-born Tallis couldn’t hide his excitement over North Queensland’s win.
“It’s where I grew up. I am a proud North Queenslander,” he said.
“We’ve been coming here a long time and never had as much success as today.
“That surpasses anything I have ever seen in my career,” he said of Johnathan Thurston’s golden point field goal that sealed the win.
“It’s the greatest moment ever.”