I reckon no-one was happier than Wayne Bennett when it was announced that the NRL grand final was coming to Suncorp Stadium on Sunday October 3...
I also reckon he’ll stop at just about nothing to make sure his South Sydney Rabbitohs are one of the two teams who fight out that historic game.
We’ve already seen Wayne up to his old tricks in the lead-up to last weekend’s match against Penrith and if that is any indication, there’s plenty more to come. Not that anyone should be surprised. Wayne is famous for his shenanigans before big matches.
Who can forget the way he rewrote Dragons’ coach Brian Smith’s pre-match assessment of the Broncos’ players before the 1992 grand final? Or the time as Origin coach he told the media that he’d heard from a “very, very reliable source” (possibly the same one that told him that Penrith players were practicing illegal tactics prior to last week’s game) that NSW forward Mark O’Meley had been given a “green light” to run amok in Game ll of the 2002 series. The referee officials obviously took notice.
After losing Game I by 28 points the Maroons won the game and went on to clinch the series. And let’s not forget how former Broncos and Origin tough guy Greg Dowling seems to pop up to bag Wayne’s forwards in the media whenever they need motivation.
Asked if he’s put Dowling up to it, Wayne inevitably just gives that ‘who me?’ look and changes the subject. So expect plenty of that and more over the next few weeks if Wayne thinks it is required.
This isn’t just the first – and possibly last - NRL grand final ever to be played in Queensland, it’s also probably the final chance Wayne Bennett will have to add to his total of premiership wins.
It is no secret that after leaving Souths at the end of this season he plans to coach the new Brisbane team if another licence is granted for 2023. That means a year on the sideline getting the team up and running, and at least another two seasons before it is premiership material. By then Wayne will be 76 years old.
We all know he thinks he’ll coach forever but I reckon even Wayne Bennett will be treating this finals campaign as his last – and the opportunity to lift the trophy in Brisbane will make him even more determined.
What do YOU reckon?
Agree: Yes indeed, it would be great to see Wayne Bennett win a premiership in the first NRL grand final played in Queensland - and if he has to pull a few of his tricks to make it happen, all the better.
Disagree: He might have pulled off the upset of the season so far, but there is no way Souths can beat the Storm or Panthers if they make it through to the grand final.