Ben­nett talks ti­tle de­spite drub­bing

The West Australian - - SPORT -

A wor­ry­ing stat may sug­gest oth­er­wise but Wayne Ben­nett in­sists Bris­bane can still win the NRL premier­ship ahead of tonight’s crunch clash with North Queens­land.

Ben­nett claimed the Bron­cos had moved on from last round’s shock 52-34 loss to Par­ra­matta and be­lieved they were “in as good a po­si­tion as any­one” to claim the ti­tle.

Bris­bane are guar­an­teed a top-four spot and can fin­ish as high as sec­ond with vic­tory over a des­per­ate North Queens­land in Townsville.

But their premier­ship cre­den­tials took a ma­jor hit from the Par­ra­matta jug­ger­naut last round. It was just the sec­ond time in Bron­cos club his­tory they had con­ceded 50 points at Sun­corp Sta­dium.

But a much more con­cern­ing stat was ex­pected to trou­ble Ben­nett ahead of the NRL fi­nals — no team has con­ceded 50 points in a game and gone on to win the ti­tle in the same sea­son.

Yet Ben­nett be­lieved Bris­bane were still on track for ti­tle No.7.

“We are in as good a po­si­tion as any­one else,” Ben­nett said of claim­ing the ti­tle.

“A lot of teams aren’t go­ing to be play­ing next week. All of our crit­ics didn’t think we would make the eight, so who knows what we can do from here?”

Ben­nett re­acted to last round’s rout by calling in de­fen­sive spe­cial­ist and for­mer Bron­cos hard­man Peter Ryan for a morn­ing of bru­tal tack­ling drills on Mon­day.

But Ben­nett claimed he was so con­vinced that last round’s loss was an aber­ra­tion that he reck­oned he did not sit his team down to ad­dress the thump­ing.

“The team is not built on one de­fen­sive dis­play good, bad or in­dif­fer­ent,” he said.

“We do it pretty well most weeks. We just had a bad day.”

Bris­bane re­ceived a blow when they lost form prop Korbin Sims (bro­ken arm) for the sea­son against the Eels.

Sam Thai­day will now slot into the front row for Sims with Ben Hunt the start­ing No.9.

“I have been pretty pleased with how we have cov­ered them (in­juries) — we are in pretty good shape,” Ben­nett said.

Pic­ture: Getty

Wayne Ben­nett

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