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Alfie gives thumbs up to Berrigan

Date: 25/05/2003
Words: 313
          Publication: Sun Herald
Section: Sport
Page: 104
QUEENSLAND's greatest halfback Allan Langer believes Shaun Berrigan is a fortnight away from confirming his place among the finest No.7s in rugby league.

And, in a stunning appraisal, Brisbane and Queensland coach Wayne Bennett thinks Berrigan is already there.

He certainly looked the part on Friday night, setting up Brisbane's first two tries and racing 55 metres to score the third in a man-of-the-match performance that helped bury the Bulldogs 24-0 at Telstra Stadium.

``He's been playing well for quite a period of time. It hasn't just jumped up and all happened for him now," Bennett said after Brisbane consolidated their position atop the NRL ladder.

``He's in a team of a lot of good players and I think everybody looks at him to be Allan Langer. Well, he's never going to be Allan Langer. There's only ever going to be one Allan Langer.

``But Shaun's doing a very, very good job. He's scoring tries himself now, he's creating a lot of opportunities for us, his back-up is great and defensively he's very, very good.

``He's as good a player [as anyone] at the moment in our team on a regular basis, week in and week out, and we've had some good players there playing good footy all season."

After stints at centre, hooker and five-eighth, Bennett moved Berrigan, 24, to first receiver this year and Langer a Broncos legend believes the super-coach has conjured another masterstroke.

``Him [Berrigan] and Benny Ikin are starting to get a bit of a combination going and they're only going to improve," Langer said.

``It just showed [against the Bulldogs] that once they take the ball to the line it creates things in other players' minds.

``He's only going to get better. He's just a competitive player. He just enjoys his games and loves winning."

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