Brisbane coach Wayne Bennett admits he did not initially think the Broncos could surge to an NRL grand final qualifier this season.
Brisbane host minor premiers Sydney Roosters in the NRL preliminary final at Suncorp Stadium on Friday night.
However, Bennett claimed the team realised they had something special after their round 24 12-10 loss to the Roosters in Sydney.
He said the team bonded in a five-day camp held in Sydney for the Roosters clash.
“Those five days was the making of our season,” said Bennett, who returned to Brisbane this season after a seven-year absence.
“Hopefully we get the benefit of that tomorrow night.
“I know what it meant for them.
“When they came out the other side they realised what was in front of them but also what they could deliver.”
Brisbane are in sight of their first grand final since 2006 – the six-time premiers’ longest drought.
Bennett said initially he wasn’t so sure of how his team would perform when he regained the Broncos’ reins at the start of the season.
Asked if he thought he would be in this position initially, Bennett said: “I probably didn’t.
“I wanted to be here but didn’t think it would happen so quickly.”
But he believed Brisbane showed the makings of a champion side as they coped with the loss of fullback Darius Boyd (Achilles) for the season’s first six weeks.
“Guys kept putting their hands up and playing well against quality teams and holding their own,” he said.
“(But) the Broncos have been the benchmark of this comp for a long time.
“We have got our standards, we know what works for us.”
Bennett had no complaints with the week off, saying the break was more important than ever for teams.
“I believe so, because of the toughness of football,” he said.
“You can see the way the players train.
“No one has visited the physio in the last 48 hours which is unheard of for a football team.”