Prop Sam Thaiday has compared Brisbane with the all conquering Queensland State of Origin team ahead of Sunday’s NRL grand final against the Cowboys.
Thaiday – a member of the Maroons team which has won nine of the last 10 Origin series – said the Broncos have bonded under returning coach Wayne Bennett and enjoyed proving the critics wrong this season.
Written off after their 36-6 first round thumping at the hands of South Sydney, Brisbane are suddenly in sight of their seventh title – all under Bennett.
Seven-time premiership-winning coach Bennett returned to the Broncos this season after seven years away.
“It’s been a fantastic year with these boys,” Thaiday said.
“We have enjoyed ourselves on and off the field – that has probably helped us get to where we are today.
“You can see it (bond) in the Origin and Australian teams that we play in together, the group we have at the Broncos is very similar to those teams.”
Asked about Bennett’s return, Thaiday said: “It’s been fantastic having him back this year.
“I think a lot of people in this room didn’t think we were going to be here after the first round.
“It’s been fantastic proving a lot of people wrong this year.
“He brings a lot of confidence to each player, he makes sure everyone knows their job, he really simplifies things.”
Thaiday brushed aside speculation about skipper Justin Hodges, who is battling a back injury.
Hodges failed to complete the warm-up at training on Thursday after picking up the injury at last week’s 31-12 preliminary final win over Sydney Roosters.
He will need to train on Saturday to confirm he will play the grand final – the last game in his glittering 16-season career.
“I think come Saturday we will nail our last training session and make sure we are focusing,” Thaiday said.
“But until then it is about having fun and enjoying each other’s company – we have worked very hard to get to this point.”
Asked about sending Hodges off a winner, Thaiday said: “Justin will tell you, it’s not about Justin.
“This whole year has been about the team.
“If we all do our job as a team we can do it (win premiership).”