Bronco premiership vow
WAYNE Bennett has declared he is not a spent force and insists he can bury the most toxic coaching saga in Brisbane’s history to lead the Broncos to an emotion-charged premiership next season.
The Broncos officially launch their 2019 pre-season tomorrow and the besieged Bennett opened up to News Corp about his determination to leave Red Hill with a premiership fairytale.
The 68-year-old has encountered the most stressful off-season of his 40-year coaching career, staving off months of speculation to declare on Friday that he has no interest in a straight swap with Anthony Seibold.
Now Bennett is looking ahead to a swansong season at Red Hill that could enshrine his legacy — aiming to deliver a seventh title and snapping Brisbane’s 13-year premiership drought.
The super coach hasn’t won a premiership since leading the Dragons to glory in 2010 but rubbished suggestions he has lost his mojo, saying he still has the mental and tactical tools to deliver another title.
“I haven’t lost any belief. I’m not doubting myself,” Bennett said as he closes the door on the Seibold saga by launching his 26th season at the Broncos tomorrow. “There are a lot of coaches out there who have never won an NRL premiership. I have won seven. And we were a few seconds away from winning another premiership in 2015 [losing to the Cowboys in extra-time].
“I know what wins premierships. And that’s my job every year — to convince this group of men this is what we have to do to win.
“We’ve got through a lot of turbulence lately, but I have to get this group of men back together again to get us back to the grand final, all with the same belief, all with the same confidence, all on the same page.
“We have stability in our staff, which is why it was important to get clarity around my future.
“A season or two can roll by and it [premiership success] doesn’t happen and I accept the pressure builds, but I haven’t lost confidence.
“I’ve won too many big games, and won too many premierships, to lose faith now.”
Broncos fans are entitled to query the side’s premiership ambitions in 2019 in the wake of their shocking 48-18 loss to the Dragons in the opening week of the playoffs last season.
Factor in the political hotbed surrounding Bennett’s contractual spat and the loss of hardmen Sam Thaiday and Josh McGuire, exposing a posse of young forwards, and the Broncos face a battle to make the top-eight.
But Bennett backed his squad to be a legitimate topfour contender, rating Brisbane’s class of 2019 superior to last season’s outfit.
“The talent is there to win it,” he said.
STAYING: Wayne Bennett.