The Courier-Mail

Benny says Roosters’ booze ban won’t win them title

- PETER BADEL

BRONCOS coach Wayne Bennett says the Roosters’ decision to impose a booze ban is a “myth” that will subject the Bondi club to a month of finals boredom.

On the eve of tonight’s Broncos-Sydney blockbuste­r at Allianz Stadium, Bennett fanned the competitiv­e embers by questionin­g the Roosters’ abstinence from alcohol.

Roosters players last month made a pact to swap lagers for lattes, reprising the no-booze mentality that underpinne­d the club’s surge to the premiershi­p in 2013.

But Bennett yesterday scoffed at suggestion­s that giving up booze would aid the Roosters’ premiershi­p tilt, insisting the Broncos have no interest in being September party poopers.

“Booze bans are myths to me,” Bennett said.

“The Roosters will have a boring month – but best of luck to them. There will be no fun there ... and there will no booze ban here.”

The Roosters, who will leapfrog Brisbane into first place on percentage­s with victory tonight, called last drinks four weeks ago following a meeting of the club’s leadership group.

Halfback Mitchell Pearce and hooker Jake Friend proposed the no-booze policy. The playing group supported the plan and gathered for a final round of drinks at popu- lar Sydney pubs the Lord Nelson and the Australian Heritage Hotel.

But Bennett won’t be calling for rounds of lemonade.

During his first stint in charge at Red Hill in the early 2000s, Broncos players embarked on a self-imposed booze ban. It convinced the veteran coach that giving up alcohol doesn’t guarantee premiershi­p glory.

“I’ve been part of those (booze bans) in the past and they are no fun,” he said.

“I am not a fan of them personally. If teams want to do it, good on them ... that’s a commitment they are making, but personally it just doesn’t get me.”

Roosters prop Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, who will wage an absorbing battle with Broncos rival Sam Thaiday tonight, backed the move.

“Once everyone buys into something like that I think it is very powerful,” he said.

“We have done it for a number of years and we know it works. It will be worth it.”

The Broncos will move tantalisin­gly close to the minor premiershi­p with victory tonight, but Bennett is aiming higher.

“No-one set out to win the minor premiershi­p this year,” he said. “We wanted to be a top-four team, we have achieved that, so the finals is the next step.”

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