Wayne Bennett believes unorthodox Brisbane props Adam Blair and Sam Thaiday typify the spirit of their last NRL premiership-winning bookends.
But that’s where the similarities with the legendary Shane Webcke and Petero Civoniceva end.
Bennett saluted “different” props Blair and Thaiday who will again be the key in Friday night’s NRL preliminary final with Sydney Roosters at Suncorp Stadium.
Bennett admitted the smaller, big-haired Blair and Thaiday were chalk and cheese compared to clean shaven man mountains Webcke and Civoniceva who inspired their 2006 title triumph.
However, he claimed Blair and Thaiday did not lack in the bravery stakes after holding their own in the absence of Queensland prop Josh McGuire (Achilles) since June.
“We have a pack that doesn’t have the same size as others but they play with as much bravery as anyone in the game and they keep getting the job done,” Bennett said.
“When we lost Josh someone else put their hands up.
“They (Blair, Thaiday) are different, they may not have the best tools but they get the job done – that’s all you need.
“Whatever challenge has been in front of them they have stood up and met it.”
Kiwi Test star Blair and Kangaroos forward Thaiday face another daunting task on Friday night with Queensland backrower Aiden Guerra and enforcer Dylan Napa featuring in a monster Roosters pack.
“But to be here in the last couple of weeks of the competition comes down to a contribution from the whole team, not a couple of players,” Bennett said.
“We will stick with what we know. If there’s only a few points in it with a couple of minutes to go I know which side I want to be on.
“We are definitely an 80 minute team. I want to be in that (tight) position.”
Bennett said he was grateful for his side’s week off earned for downing North Queensland 16-12 in their opening final.
He said the break was now more valuable than ever in the NRL.
“I believe so, because of the toughness of football,” he said.
“You can see (the benefit in) the way the players train.
“No one has visited the physio in the last 48 hours which is unheard of for a football team.”
The two teams are split 1-1 in preliminary final clashes.
Each time the winner went onto claim the premiership (1998 Brisbane, 2002 Roosters).
Brisbane have won their last four finals at home.
The Roosters have won just four of their past 12 away finals.