For some, centre Steve Renouf's 95m try may have embodied the style of
the Brisbane Broncos' season and their grand-final win yesterday.
For others, captain Allan Langer's two tries might be replayed as an
illustration of what football Broncos-style means.
They're flashy footballers- extravagantly skilled-and the manner of their
contributions to the 28-8 beating of St George at the Sydney Football Stadium
would've have surprised no-one.
The performances of second-rowers Trevor Gillmeister and Alan Cann are a
personal choice of what embodies all things Bronco.
Both have been perceived as tough, hurtful defenders, but not as skilled
attackers. They always have been attackers, however.
Yesterday both showed they were no longer shy of displaying that skill.
Broncos coach Wayne Bennett said after beating Illawarra in a semi-final
that a team was a reflection of the coach.
Yesterday was the Broncos in the Bennett style.
Gillmeister's and Cann's efforts were a reflection of how much impact
Bennett has had on the individual as well as the collective.
They have blossomed, though no-one would ever call them wilting flowers,
at least not front-on.
As chief executive John Ribot said: "It's a tribute to the way Wayne
Bennett brings players along."
Though Langer was awarded the Churchill Medal, Gillmeister was a personal
His defence set the standard in the first half, maintained it in the
second, and he was always there when a runner was needed, and there with the
pass which sent Cann on the way for his first try.
St George coach Brian Smith said last week his team's defeat of Illawarra
had been marked by character, but Brisbane were strong in the talent and skill
The character and style of Brisbane's football was seen yesterday, and
they added the talent and skill St George couldn't match.
There was plenty of character and skill in St George's first half, but
they were shellshocked by the 16-minute Bronco blitz which produced four tries
and destroyed the dream in the second.
Saints second-rower Scott Gourley had a towering game to match his height,
creating one try and scoring a face-saver in the 78th minute. His running on
the edges and crunching tackles must also have him close to World Cup selection.
Half Noel Goldthorpe also confirmed his status as one of the players of
the finals series with another big one, but almost all the man-of-the-match
contenders were Broncos.
Prop Glenn Lazarus was the inexorable metre man, hooker Kerrod Walters
just mighty and kick-returners Michael Hancock, Willie Carne and Julian O'Neill
made the St George chasers pay in many metres and blood.
Most winning grand-final dressing rooms are awash with euphoria and thick
with an atmosphere you can cut with a knife.
Brisbane's was just merriment rather than high excitement. Instead of
well-wishers' cards and telegrams, the walls were covered with the
sponsors'logos. Maybe it's the corporate way of the future.
The personal hopes of a city and State were provided by sporting sons of
Queensland like footballers Wally Lewis and Gene Miles, golfer Wayne Grady and
well-known athlete Premier Wayne Goss.
"It's more relief because of the expectations," said chief executive Ribot
of the mood after the pressure of justifying the 4-1-on status.
The subdued Cann was thinking more of the week ahead when he said: "It's
going to be big. It's going to be real big."
Coach Bennett, who was drunk on the atmosphere, was thinking a different
"I'm going to have some chocolate," he said. "I love my chocolate. You
just don't eat as much when you're happy. You just look at it and eat it
Asked if he had backed Brisbane earlier in the year, noted punter Langer
said: "I'm not a betting man."
Asked about his crocheted hat made from the sponsor's beer cans, he said:
"Fatty (Paul Vautin) got it from Lowes."
Scenes of merriment, and Brisbane looked to make merry after just 10
minutes of the grand final with a converted try.
Langer had feinted to kick, stepped David Barnhill off his left foot,
found Gavin Allen, and the prop's pass bounced off St George fullback Mick
Potter and back into Langer's hands.
St George retaliated after 16 minutes with a magnificent try when Gourley
ran at and almost over Langer and got his pass from near the ground to Michael
Beattie on the surge. Peter Coyne was in support and his lofted pass allowed
Ricky Walford a run to the corner.
At 6-4 it looked anyone's game at the interval after a half worthy of a
grand final, but St George's kick-and-chase had not pinned Brisbane down, and
the Broncos forwards consequently didn't show signs of running out of legs.
The first try afterwards might seal it, and it went to the Broncos in the
50th minute when Potter did valiantly to return a kick into the field of play
only to be bundled into touch.
A Broncos scrum win and two rucks later Langer beat flimsy defence from
The lid was tight when Gillmeister made a half-break and put Cann into a
gap. Gillmeister's mate showed a three-quarter's skills in beating Walford, then
Potter off his right foot, and then the despairing Mark Coyne.
He showed more of the spectacular with a left-foot step which stranded
Neil Tierney, and then a 25m sprint, but the best came last when Willie Carne
was allowed to run 30m parallel to the in-goal line and into the field of play.
Langer found Renouf on the left, Renouf found replacement Rex Terp out
with a left-foot step, and 95m later dived over the line after beating off
"I heard his footsteps behind me and just made it," Renouf said.
St George coach Smith said he was disappointed with the loss but not with
the performance or the season. Nor should he be, and Smith pointed to all the
young players coming through.
Smith gave it some perspective when he said: "I've got to handle the
responsibility (of losing). My father has worked a lot harder than me and seen
floods wash away everything in a day." Smith Snr is a farmer. "I'll handle it,
as much as it hurts."
Evergreen captain Beattie offered a magnanimous "Rugby League was the
winner" and added a stylish "We love youse all" for the St George supporters.
Penrith's victorious captain Royce Simmons said last year he would like to
buy each and every one a schooner.
The Broncos won't have to worry. Every Queenslander will want to buy each
and every one of them a brewery.
BRISBANE 28 (A Langer 2 A Cann 2 S Renouf tries; T Matterson 4 goals) bt
ST GEORGE 8 (R Walford S Gourley tries). Referee: G McCallum. Crowd: 41,560.