Wayne Bennett isn’t surprised with how quickly the Brisbane Broncos have come together under his watch, saying he hasn’t had to “reinvent the wheel” to make them an NRL force once again.
Bennett’s Broncos stamped their authority on Friday night, outlasting the Sydney Roosters in an epic battle at Suncorp Stadium to secure a 22-18 golden-point victory.
It was one for the ages, with both sides fluffing field-goal attempts in a frantic finish that had to be seen to be truly believed.
Brisbane halfback Ben Hunt was the ultimate hero, dodging the reach of Roger Tuivasa-Sheck on his way to scoring the decisive try with just seconds remaining in the first half of added time.
Their fifth win on the trot means the Broncos are now two points clear on top of the NRL ladder and looking ominous after a superb start to the season.
But in a nod to his predecessors Ivan Henjak and Anthony Griffin, Bennett said much of the work was already done upon his return to the club last year.
“I haven’t come in here and reinvented the wheel,” Bennett said.
“I was part of the 21 years of what we did create here but after that I’ve been away for six.
“The coaches that did the interim job, they weren’t as bad as you guys (the media) probably wrote about them.
“The point I’m making is I didn’t come into a basketcase – the club wasn’t a basketcase, they did a good job with the boys.
“We just added a few little things to it.
“I’ve been to clubs where I’ve had to climb a huge mountain – this is not one of them.”
With three stars on the sidelines on Friday night, the Broncos should only get better from here.
That they edged the Roosters without co-captain Justin Hodges (hamstring) and pack leader Adam Blair (corked thigh) is testament to Brisbane’s depth and the belief that is coursing through the squad.
Both Hodges and Blair will be in contention to face St George Illawarra next week.
Then there’s Darius Boyd (Achilles) to return further down the track.
Roosters coach Trent Robinson was a shattered man after the final whistle but even he was impressed with the Broncos and how they sit.
“They look comfortable,” he said.
“They look like they know what they’re doing and they’re competing hard.
“Wayne looks comfortable up here – I don’t think he needs any raps, but that’s a nice way to start for them.
“They’re going to be pushing the back end of the year.”