Mind games pay off for Bennett - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Mind games pay off for Bennett

By Adrian Proszenko 17/09/2006 08:05:34 PM Comments (0)

Wayne Bennett has been known to use the odd mind game to get the best out of his players, but the Brisbane coach outdid himself this pre-season.

In an attempt to get his team firing in September, Bennett assembled the squad at the beginning of the year and told them that they were not yet a football team - but would be by the end of the season.

Conscious of Brisbane's dismal record in finals - their last play-off win prior to Saturday night was against Parramatta in 2002 - the wily mentor urged his troops to build momentum and peak for the season-ending matches.

"Wayne said at the beginning of the football season `you're not a football team yet and at the end of the season we will be'" fullback Karmichael Hunt recalled on Sunday.

"That's what we're building to, a lot of the boys are confident being beside the boys that run out there.

"I'm happy just to be sitting out the back, watching the show.

"It's going to be very exciting next week against the Bulldogs, it's going to be close."

After smashing Newcastle 50-6 at Aussie Stadium on Saturday night, Hunt said they were close to earning the "football team" tag that the Bennett had teased them with.

"I'd say we are - if we make the grand final that's when I'd say we are a football team but we can't say that yet," he said.

"He said it before the season actually started, which is a true statement.

"We weren't a proper football team at the start of the season but now, over the last 20-something rounds or so we're getting (there), so it's good.

"That's probably why he said that, because he didn't want us to (peak) at the beginning or in the middle but in the end when it counts."

Hunt was named on the wing but played at fullback against the Knights, a position he will again occupy in next weekend's preliminary final against the Bulldogs.

"(Bennett) indicated I would be there for the rest, however many games we play," he said.

"It's good to be back there, I knew I was going to play fullback at the beginning of the week, which was a big relief because that's where I enjoy playing my football and want to make a difference to the team."

The Broncos have beaten the Bulldogs twice this season, but in-form prop Petero Civoniceva wasn't reading too much into past meetings.

"It was a good result for us but they had a couple of guys out," he said.

"I'm not going to get ahead of myself here, all I know is it's going to be a good battle up front.

"Whoever can gain momentum is going to make it easier for the playmakers.

"We want to make sure we get the job done against them to make the job easier for Darren (Lockyer) and Shane (Perry)."

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