Suncorp hoodoo hanging over Bennett - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Suncorp hoodoo hanging over Bennett

By Steve Jancetic and David Beniuk 14/09/2011 09:06:18 PM Comments (0)

He's compiled the greatest coaching resume the NRL has ever seen but the one black hole in Wayne Bennett's long list of achievements looms large on Saturday night - Suncorp Stadium.

To be more precise - finals football at Suncorp Stadium.

In one of the more bizarre anomalies the game has seen, the man who has a record seven premierships to his name and coached more finals wins than anyone else, has yet to do so at the home of rugby league in Queensland.

His record? None from seven.

It's a run that stretches back to 1995 before the ground's redevelopment, and one that crosses two clubs - Brisbane and St George Illawarra.

"It's so unusual because he has been so successful right through," rugby league historian David Middleton told AAP.

"When he was with the Broncos he spoke about their inability to win at Suncorp in finals and he put that down to opposition teams loving playing at that arena.

"It's just weird that it's turned around now and the Broncos can win there and he can't.

"The Broncos have won in Brisbane with Bennett in charge, but that was at a different ground, they won four out of five with him at ANZ Stadium."

Ironically Brisbane's run of outs at Suncorp Stadium ended the year after Bennett left, when they beat the Bennett-coached St George Illawarra side 24-10 in a semi-final clash.

It continues a shocking record for the master coach in Broncos-Dragons clashes, having won just two of the last 13 clashes between the two sides.

Former Bronco and Bennett's son-in-law Ben Ikin said the surprising record could only be explained as a statistical anomaly.

"I'm not a massive fan of stats, they don't always tell the full story but zero from seven is pretty damning, isn't it?" he said.

"Sometimes you get those stats that trend a certain way that have no real explanation attached to them.

"You wouldn't expect that he coaches any different in the lead-up to games played at that venue."

Dragons prop Michael Weyman said it had been business as usual for Newcastle-bound Bennett in the lead-up to another sudden death semi-final against Brisbane.

"He's been cracking a few jokes and he's been good," Weyman said.

"It's been enjoyable at training."

The former NSW State of Origin forward said the premiers had learned from their loss to the Broncos in the corresponding final of 2009.

"I suppose the pressure of finals football, we learned a fair bit from that and obviously the next year we went well (winning the premiership)," Weyman said.

"Hopefully we can do the same this year."

Ikin believes the Dragons can.

"I don't think the Dragons were as far off last week as a lot of people think they were," he said.

"Just some of those uncharacteristic mistakes killed them in the end.

"I don't think those types of mistakes ... are systemic issues."

Meanwhile, the NRL has opted for smaller venues for the second-last week of the finals series.

Manly will play the Broncos or Dragons at the Sydney Football Stadium on Friday, September 23, with Melbourne to host the Wests Tigers or Warriors at AAMI Park the following night.

Brought to you by AAP AAP © 2022 AAP

0 Comments about this article

Post a comment about this article

Please sign in to leave a comment.
Becoming a member is free and easy, sign up here.

« All sports news