Langer, Tallis lean to Dragons - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Langer, Tallis lean to Dragons

By Wayne Heming 29/09/2010 04:09:01 PM Comments (0)

Brisbane great Allan Langer says the best way for St George Illawarra to defuse dynamite halves Mitchell Pearce and Todd Carney is to go blow-for-blow with the Roosters' aggressive young forwards in Sunday's NRL grand final.

Langer, who won four premierships in the 1990s under Wayne Bennett, believes his former coach will emerge triumphant again against his old adversary Brian Smith.

Smith, who is looking to make the Roosters the first team in 76 years to win a premiership 12 months after claiming the wooden spoon, has lost two of his three grand final battles to Bennett-coached sides.

"Wayne won't change a thing, it's one of the great things about him as a coach," said Langer.

"He'll keep it simple. There won't be a lot in it, but the Dragons have shown all year they can defend better than any other side which is what you have to do to win grand finals."

Another former Broncos captain, Gorden Tallis, who played in two of Bennett's grand final wins, has an insight into both coaches.

The Raging Bull played his first 50 NRL games for the Dragons before falling out with Smith.

His his next 158 NRL games were under Bennett at the Broncos - a relationship which again did not have the happiest of endings.

Tallis believes both coaches have their players "eating out of their hands" going into the grand final.

"Their influence on the players is huge," Tallis told AAP on Wednesday.

"Whichever one has enough bird seed left could will come out on top on Sunday.

"One (Smith) has come from the wooden spoon, so he's turned the club around and it's fair to say his players are prepared to do anything for their coach.

"The other (Bennett) has the runs on the board and the players won't want to let him down either."

One thing Langer and Tallis agree on is the danger posed by exciting young guns Pearce and Carney, who have a similar look about them to the Wests Tigers' 2005 premiership-winning halves Scott Prince and Benji Marshall.

Their speed and ability to attack with the ball has already seen them compared to Langer and Kevin Walters when they played for Brisbane and Queensland in the 1990s.

"They are close in age, they're very good friends and they play off each other," noted Langer.

"When they play side by side, which you don't see often these days, they create problems for the defence which means the Dragons have to limit their involvement by holding their own in the forwards.

"If they can at least finish even in that battle that will cut down the opportunities they get with the ball."

Tallis agreed Pearce and Carney provided a genuine fear factor but quickly added: "forwards still win big matches".

"They're danger men for sure, but they can't win it behind a beaten forward pack," said Tallis.

Meanwhile, Langer said Bennett's calmness in the build-up to the game plus his proven ability to keep the lid on emotions and make the week enjoyable for his players help his side handle the big day.

"Wayne's been there so many times," he said.

"He won't complicate their roles or fill their heads with too much information.

"He knows exactly when to throw the switch, he's proved that how many times ..... six?"

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