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Broncos have no fears of Storm: Bennett

By Wayne Heming 15/09/2008 05:25:55 PM Comments (0)

Brisbane forward Ben Hannant says Saturday's surprise NRL semi-final clash with minor premiers Melbourne holds no special fears despite the Broncos' awful finals record on home soil at Suncorp Stadium.

Upset by the eight-placed Warriors, the Storm now renew hostilities with fierce rivals Brisbane and get the chance to make some amends for their 2006 NRL grand final defeat.

Melbourne have long suspected Brisbane of orchestrating the anti-grapple tackle campaign that has plagued the club in recent seasons and would like nothing more than to dump the Broncos from the finals in front of a big Suncorp Stadium crowd.

Remarkably, six-time premiers Brisbane have lost all five finals matches played at Suncorp Stadium since 1995 - including clashes with Melbourne in 2004 and 2005.

The other losses were to Canberra in 1995, North Sydney in 1996 and St George Illawarra in 2006 before they bounced back to deny Melbourne the title that season.

But the Broncos understandably prefer to point to their strong (9 wins-3 losses) at Suncorp in the regular season this year.

"We'd have to play Melbourne anyway and what better way to play them than at home where we've got a good record so far (this season)," said Hannant.

The Broncos prop, who churned through almost 50 tackles against the Sydney Roosters in last Friday night's 24-16 finals win at the SFS, said he was "psyched" for the Storm clash.

"I'm psyched and I'm stoked to be able to play at Suncorp. It's the best ground in Australia by far," he said.

"There's nothing better. We've got the best fans in Australia and I can't wait to run out and play my last home game there."

Hannant brushed aside concerns about Brisbane's failure to win a finals game at Suncorp Stadium in 13 seasons.

"Our record there (this season) is definitely different to what it has been in past years," he said.

"We love playing at home and it's a whole new Broncos outfit.

"We're building to something and we're playing good football."

He avoided opening old wounds when asked if Brisbane should raise the grapple tackle issue with the referees after Warriors captain Steve Price complained about the tactic at the weekend.

"All we can do is control ourselves. They can do whatever they want to - we'll have to weather it like we did last week," the Bulldogs-bound forward said.

"That's why we have referees to referee games and they're doing a great job."

Hannant, who along with Broncos coach Wayne Bennett and several other players are leaving at season's end, said Brisbane had to be ready to put in 100 per cent for 80 minutes against a champion side like Melbourne.

"We're starting to build towards something, I think that's four in a row now and hopefully the momentum keeps going with us and we keep improving," he said.

"We're going to play together as a team because this team is not going to be together much longer. We want to ride it for as long as we can and play for each other."

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