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The Sydney Morning Herald

BRONCOS REJOICE, BUT THE PLOTTING BEGINS

Author: ROY MASTERS
Date: 27/09/1992
Words: 1076
          Publication: Sydney Morning Herald
Section: Sport
Page: 27
The Broncos are set to create a dynasty but already the forces are gathering to dilute their power.

Dynasties in rugby league never last for long. They roll along for about three years and suddenly the nuts and bolts fall off.

Parramatta, Canterbury and Canberra divided up the 1980s, but money, personality clashes and age beat them all. The Broncos have no such problems, but it is inevitable that a licence will be awarded to a second Brisbane team to dilute their power.

After yesterday's 28-8 win over St George, coach Wayne Bennett said: "I'm a minority. I've been given powers no-one else has.

"I've been able to build a footie team without complaints about money. I've been able to coach it without interference. And I've won a competition in five years.

"I have developed a group of people around me who I call 'Bennett's People'."

It is sometimes said players are a reflection of the coach's personality. The Broncos are taciturn, disciplined, confident, occasionally aloof, not prone to panic and immensely talented. Bennett is all of the above.

Watching their post-match festivities was the experienced eye of Canterbury's chief executive and powerful NSWRL board member, Peter Moore.

Moore, a visitor to Melbourne the previous day to watch the grand final of the Australian Football League, noted the similarities between the two big days.

"The West Coast Eagles had 14 out of 20 players in the State of Origin team," he said. "Geelong, the loser, had four.

"Everyone in the Broncos, bar Julian O'Neill and Alan Cann, has played State of Origin.

"O'Neill is only 19 and he will play for Queensland and Australia. When I saw him play schoolboy football, I said to my president, Barry Nelson, 'We'll go big for this kid'. You normally give schoolboys $5,000. We offered him$40,000, and he still signed with the Broncos."

Moore also remarked on the immense depth of the Eagles and the Broncos.

Athleticism won the grand final of both codes via the strikepower of the teams they were able to field immediately after half-time. As Moore said: "The premiers of both codes won it in the third quarter.

"They ran on replacements who were just as young and talented as the starting line-up."

But rather than use the Broncos as a model for the success of a club, the NSWRL board will bow to pressure to divide Brisbane in two, possibly earlier than 1995.

Gold Coast coach Wally Lewis said the Gold Coast Seagulls had notified their players that the second instalment on their contracts would be paid in early November, after the October 31 deadline.

Lewis said the Seagulls had been ordered to close the club for the month of November as punishment for breaching licensing laws.

"Some of our players are worried they won't get their cheques because the place will be closed," Lewis said.

The Seagulls directors recently voted to refuse a $1 million offer from the Lang Park Trust to relocate to Brisbane.

But as Lewis said: "There were 110 buses a day coming from Queensland to play the pokies. That's all stopped, and maybe the directors will have a rethink on the Lang Park offer."

Queensland Premier Wayne Goss, patron of the Broncos but offside with the owners because he opposed their move to the QEII Stadium and wants the Lang Park facility used, said after yesterday's win: "I was cheering for West Coast and Brisbane.

"Australia is moving north and west. This victory is better than last week's win (over the LiberalNational parties in the Queensland election). We've won an election before, but not a premiership."

Bronco captain Allan Langer endorsed the view of the depth and power of his side when he said: "I was never worried in the game that we would lose.

"This is a club all about taking chances. The young blokes in our team, like Alan Cann, Willie Carne and Julian O'Neill, got their chances following injuries or loss of form to others. Now we have a reserve grade team full of players ready to come up."

An indication of the diversity of the Broncos was a tactical change Bennett made at half-time.

Langer said: "I told Wayne that St George were stacking the side I was on.

"So he told Maddo (Terry Matteson), Gilly (Trevor Gillmeister) and Alan Cann to stand on the opposite side of the ruck to me.

"It worked because the ball went left twice and Alan Cann went over twice.

Cann received an injection at half-time for a sprained big left toe. "I bent it back badly in the first half and the needle stopped me limping," he said.

Earlier this year Cann was involved in some nasty spear-tackles, carrying players on his back and driving them into the ground. He was suspended for four weeks mid-year for a dangerous tackle.

Yesterday, he carried two Dragons on his back when he scored his first try, taking the score to an unreachable 18-4. He has a giant tattoo of a dragon on his right shoulder blade, and he carried Dragon fullback Mick Potter on his back to put the ball down in the 55th minute.

Two months ago, when this reporter noted the tattoo on his back, Cann said: "No publicity about me tat. I want a low profile going into the grand final."

Yesterday, as he hurried to catch the flight home to Brisbane, he said: "You can write about that dragon tattoo now. I got a lot of things off my back today."

 
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