Wayne Bennett says Queensland should be proud of their staggering NRL finals attendance but is adamant Sydney must remain the season decider’s home.
A sell out crowd of almost 52,000 again packed Suncorp Stadium as Brisbane booked their first grand final since 2006 with the 31-12 rout of minor premiers Sydney Roosters on Friday night.
More than 50,000 also packed Suncorp Stadium for the Broncos’ 16-12 qualifying final win over North Queensland a fortnight ago.
Apart from renewed expansion talk, the remarkable attendances – more than double most Sydney finals crowds this year – also sparked speculation Brisbane could host a grand final in the future.
The NRL are this year bracing for the prospect of Sydney hosting an historic first all-Queensland season decider.
Brisbane play the winner of Saturday night’s Melbourne-North Queensland preliminary final.
Australian Rugby League Commission chairman John Grant further stoked the fire on Thursday when he said they hoped to hold season deciders away from Sydney after 2019.
Bennett was humbled by the crowd response but believed Sydney should remain the grand final host.
“Yeah I have no problem with that,” he said.
“It’s where the grand final has always been played, it’s the biggest city in Australia – why wouldn’t you play the grand final there?
“But I have appreciated what has happened up here.
“It was the first preliminary final the Broncos have played at home.
“But Sydney should still host the grand final in my opinion.”
Playing in Sydney clearly doesn’t bother Bennett’s Broncos – they have a perfect 6-0 grand final record.
But Bennett did concede there was no place like home.
“To think we filled the stadium both nights and played the football that we have, it’s a pretty special relationship between the fans and the players,” Bennett said of their Suncorp Stadium faithful.
“And it doesn’t get much better than right now.
“Queensland should be proud.”