South Sydney Rabbitohs Training Session
South Sydney Rabbitohs Training Session

Crash Tackle: Why Broncos must ensure Bennett return

Wayne Bennett could be the best thing going for a new Brisbane rugby league team but his possible return could create carnage around the rest of the state.

Senior NRL officials are concerned by what we might call the Pied Piper effect of having Bennett coaching a second Brisbane team being mooted for the 2023 season.

One of the few NRL coaches with genuine player pull, Bennett would only have to draw a couple of senior players out of the Broncos and Cowboys to set them back years in their plans to recover from long-lasting and deep-seated forms slumps.

One of the most logical reasons for the Broncos to bring Bennett back to Red Hill as a coaching director is to have the Pied Piper effect working for rather than against them.




Kevin Walters' dressing room tirade may have ignited a spirit spike within the Broncos but he must now put the cork back in his cannon.

This is the view of leading Brisbane performance psychologist Phil Jauncey who has worked with many leading sporting teams including a 15-year stint with the Broncos.

Walters' animated pre-match serve to his players roused the Broncos to a dignified loss to the mighty Panthers on Thursday but, according to Jauncey, the shock tactic must remain just that and might only be worth one or two more airings this season.




Sports psychologist Phil Jauncey (left) with Matt Lodge during a Broncos training session.
Sports psychologist Phil Jauncey (left) with Matt Lodge during a Broncos training session.



"Kevvie is a happy sort or guy and that behaviour was very unusual for him so they would have said "wow'' and paid attention,'' Jauncey said.

"But try it again and it loses something. For it to make an impression the brain has to see it as unusual which makes it seem important. The more times something happens the less times the brain pays importance to it.

"So long as it remains atypical it can have an impact but you would not like to do it more than once or twice a season.

"If he needs a new strategy it might be "OK guys, last time you needed me to get your energy up. What can do put in to get there yourselves?"


Kevvie gets the Broncos going!: NRL: Kevin Walters gave his Brisbane Broncos outfit one hell of a pre-match rev up before taking on the Penrith Panthers, by the looks of things.





Anthony Milford wasn't great and he wasn't terrible in his Intrust Cup return for Souths on Sunday but two things caught the eye.

The first is that he just doesn't look happy. The game has lost its charm for him. Part of the message given to Milford before he went back to Souths was to relax and enjoy his football be he still has the look of a man whose lawnmower has a faulty spark plug.

When called upon to hustle in defence near his own line Milford drew ripples of applause for making two tackles in a row. Another time he dived in late to save a try. He made a couple of offloads but at no stage did he look like a man desperate to make an impression. As always, he never said much.

Anthony Milford playing for Souths Logan against North Devils. Photographer: Liam Kidston.
Anthony Milford playing for Souths Logan against North Devils. Photographer: Liam Kidston.

The second point is that he seems to have lost his old zip. Sure, he can move reasonably well when given space and we can forgive a few of his passes from going astray on Sunday because there were cogs grinding as he fitted in with a new team.

But the crackling electricity which once made him one of the game's most watchable players seems gone. He just doesn't have his old ping.



Brodie Croft could be on to something.

In a Broncos team struggling to score points his spiralling bombs, supported by a hungry pack of chasers, to a targeted winger against Penrith were a constant source of trouble.

The high bomb, placed shallow enough for the Broncos runners to arrive before it lands, sounds like such a simple play but it's a key weapon when done right.



Dragons coach Anthony Griffin wants his team to savour every bit of success that comes their way this season.

Griffin has always been a fan of celebrating a victory with a couple of dressing room beers and the Dragons players have felt team spirit rising after games as they stayed in the dressing room to roast their success.

The Dragons may have lost to the Warriors on Sunday but are still exceeding expectations.

Originally published as Crash Tackle: Why Broncos must ensure Bennett return