Brisbane coach Wayne Bennett has talked up the other three clubs in the NRL preliminary finals, but says his developing side are ready to take their opportunity.
Bennett won six titles with the Broncos in his first stint with the club from 1988 to 2008 and returned to Brisbane after spells at St George Illawarra and Newcastle.
The old maestro has quickly worked his magic, lifting them from eighth in 2014 to second in his first season back.
The team may have achieved more than Bennett possibly anticipated, but that doesn’t mean he would settle for falling short of winning another title earlier than most people might have predicted.
“We’re that close it kind of hurts a bit thinking about how close you are and you don’t want to miss the opportunity,” Bennett said.
The Broncos host premiership favourites Sydney Roosters on Friday night with North Queensland playing away to Melbourne the following night.
“They (the Roosters) were one of the favourites before the season started and they’ve remained that all the way through, probably them and the Cowboys,” Bennett said on the Nine Network’s Footy Classified show.
“No-one was sure about South Sydney, whether they could back up or not, and they did self destruct in the end, but the Roosters have been there all the time.
“We’ve never been mentioned in that type of ilk of the Roosters and even the Cowboys to that extent, so nothing has changed.
“I still think they are the premiership favourites and Melbourne has done well the past month, they’ve beaten us all.
“They’ve beaten us, the Cowboys and the Roosters in the last three weeks, so you can’t underestimate what they can do.”
Bennett said he wasn’t sure what he was getting when he returned to Brisbane, but it became apparent as the season unfolded that the team was better than he initially thought.
“I didn’t really have any idea and then (fullback) Darius (Boyd) did his achilles in December,” Bennett said.
“I knew he was going to be pretty important to (halves) Anthony (Milford) and Ben Hunt, with a bit of advice out on the field.
“But we went for seven or eight weeks without him and we won a lot of games without him and that was a great boost to everybody.
“We stated to realise we were probably a better football team than we thought we were.”