Tallis faces biggest test: Bennett - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Tallis faces biggest test: Bennett

By Brent Read and Wayne Heming 10/06/2003 08:14:53 PM Comments (0)

Queensland coach Wayne Bennett believes Gorden Tallis' fragile temperament will be tested more than any other time in his career in the emotion-charged State of Origin opener.

Tallis appears to have resolved his long-running feud with Origin I referee Bill Harrigan, which stretches back to the opening game of the 2000 series when the Queensland captain was sent off by the game's leading whistleblower.

But a candid Bennett admitted he didn't know whether his reformed captain's character would stand up to the heat of a sell-out crowd at Suncorp Stadium.

"I think Gorden has been pretty good this year with the refs and we made a conscious decision to be better and he's been really good in that area so I don't think tomorrow night is going to make any difference," Bennett said.

"But Gorden does wear his heart on his sleeve.

"He has a fair sense of righteousness that sometimes gets him in a little bit of trouble.

"Tomorrow night it will be tested more than any other time because there's a lot at stake and there's a lot of passion so we can probably answer that question after the game, if he can handle it all and keep it in check."

Tallis, known as the Raging Bull for his on-field intensity, made a conscious decision in the off-season to tone down his act.

As a result he's maintained a spotless record this season, even burying the hatchet with long-time sparring partner Harrigan.

But even he admits it's going to be hard to control his emotions.

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