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Illawarra Mercury

Riding high

Author: By GLENN TOBIN at the SFS
Date: 28/09/1998
Words: 485
          Publication: Illawarra Mercury
Section: Sport
Page: 48
Brisbane confirmed itself as one of the great teams in rugby league history by collecting a staggering fourth premiership in six years with a ruthless 38-12 demolition of Canterbury in the National Rugby League grand final at Sydney Football Stadium yesterday.

More than 40,000 fans watched in awe as ninth-placed Canterbury looked to complete the all-time fairytale story after leading 12-10 at halftime.

The comeback kings were in unfamiliar territory, leading with ample time on the clock.

But the Dogs were subsequently buried under a Broncos avalanche which poured on five brilliant tries in the second half in one of the most dominant grand final scorelines of the modern era.

The newest Broncos crown goes in the cabinet alongside those gathered in the 1992, 1993 (both ARL) and 1997 (Super League) seasons.

A humble Canterbury coach Steve Folkes, who was himself a member of some of the strongest sides the game has produced, had no hesitation in rating Brisbane among the rugby league's elite.

``This Brisbane team is just straight out a great side," he said after the game.

``They could hold their head up in any era, in any competition. They are just that good.

``I think they have proven that and it cannot be taken away from them."

Broncos coach Wayne Bennett would not be drawn when asked to rate his team's place in history.

However, he did concede that this Brisbane side, the team that makes up most of the Queensland Origin team and half of the Australian Test side, may not be bettered by any other.

``How good is that team? I won't really say ... that is up to you (the media) to do that," he said after being asked to compare Brisbane with the great St George, South Sydney and Canterbury teams.

``But I will say this, the team won the Super League competition last year, they won the State of Origin this season, won the minor premiership and have just come out and won the grand final.

``After all that, there really is nothing more that they can do."

The Brisbane win now makes it certain that the Broncos will dominate the Australian Test team to be selected in Sydney today.

As many as seven players are expected to be chosen, with halfback Allan Langer the likely captain with Sydney City's Brad Fittler and Newcastle prop Paul Harragon unavailable through injury.

Langer said after the win the Australian captaincy, the only honour in the game not yet bestowed on him, would cap his career.

However, he will be back with Bennett next season to defend the Broncos' title.

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