Brisbane coach Wayne Bennett says his NRL team might have taken something just as valuable as two competition points out of their stunning win over Melbourne.
The Broncos showed amazing grit and stamina to rack up 385 tackles and defend 11 line dropouts to hold on for a 14-12 win on Sunday at AAMI Park.
They held onto top spot on the ladder with the memorable victory.
Bennett said the experience of playing, and succeeding, in the face of such immense pressure could be telling when it came to the finals.
“To give yourself a chance, you need these type of games,” Bennett said.
“Against it all afternoon, backs to the wall … you can talk about it, run practice drills, but the only place where it really sinks in and matters is out there on the footy field.
“I can’t give them that – they can’t buy that, but that’s what they got.
“It will give them another level of confidence and belief in what they can do.”
Man of the match Matt Gillett, who was backing up from State of Origin on Wednesday, said there was strong belief among the team.
He rated their defensive effort as the best he’d been involved in.
“By far,” he said.
“Coming in against a quality side like Melbourne who threw a lot at us … we can take a lot of confidence out of that.”
Gillett said they had changed their defensive structure under Bennett, who returned to the club this season.
“We worked pretty hard on that in the pre-season, individually and as a team, as it was the major thing we needed to fix up.
“We all bought into what Wayne wanted to do and it worked so far for us this year.”
Gillett paid tribute to young hooker Andrew McCullough, who topped the tackle count with 56, although some statisticians put him at a mammoth 70.
“He’s one of the workers and his work rate is something we should all be proud of.”