With seven premierships to his name, it’s no wonder Brisbane coach Wayne Bennett isn’t get too carried away with the Broncos’ NRL ladder position.
The Broncos sit top of the pile after an eight-game winning streak.
It’s got fans excited about the prospect of a first minor premiership since 2000.
However, hooker Andrew McCullough says chasing the JJ Giltinan Shield cannot become a distraction from the overall goal of making, and winning, this year’s grand final.
McCullough believes Bennett couldn’t care less if his team finishes on top of the ladder at the end of the regular season, just so long as they’re in good form heading into the finals.
“It’s not the be-all and end-all,” McCullough said of the minor premiership.
“No-one really talks about who won the minor premiership that year.
“If you’re thinking about that and then get into the finals a bit ahead of yourselves, you can fall out in two weeks and not even make the grand final.
“We haven’t spoken about it and I don’t think Wayne even cares about the minor premiership to be honest.”
McCullough’s immediate concern is keeping up the Broncos’ winning streak this Saturday against a Manly team with a point to prove following confirmation coach Geoff Toovey will leave the club at the end of the season.
The Sea Eagles themselves are still not completely out of the hunt for a finals berth and proved last week with a convincing win over the Warriors in Auckland that their off-field troubles aren’t affecting their on-field form.
With halves Daly Cherry-Evans and Kieran Foran as well as fullback Brett Stewart firing off the back of a strong forward pack, McCullough says the Sea Eagles pose a real threat.
“You go through their line-up, there’s some great players in there and the pressure’s off them now just to go out and play some footy,” he said.
“Obviously Tooves is not going to be there next year. He’s been a great servant for their club and the best way they can repay him is to win the rest of their remaining games and see what happens.
“They’re going to put in a great performance not just for him, but for themselves, a lot of people have written them off this year.”