NRL Brisbane Broncos Shane Webcke
AAP8:43 AM PHT3 Minutes Read
Brisbane great Shane Webcke has noted the humility and relentless streak in the current squad as they bid to match the club’s best start to the NRL era.
If the unbeaten Broncos beat basement-dwellers Wests Tigers at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday night, it will be their fifth straight win to start the season. The last time they did that was in the NRL’s inaugural year in 1998.
Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images
That season they banked early competition points, had a quiet mid-season when they had up to 10 players in Queensland’s State of Origin squad before finishing the season with a bang and winning the title.
Webcke, who won the four-time premiership, played in that 1998 team. He attended the Broncos’ 18-12 win over the Dolphins last week and then went to the postgame function where he noted a change in attitude from last year when the team lost five of its last six games to end the to miss the final.
“The difference that I see in these players, that I recognized in them, is that there is a certain humility about them,” Webcke told AAP.
“They had just beaten the Dolphins, which was obviously a close game, so there was nothing to be proud of, but I feel like (coach) Kevvie Walters is doing a good job of keeping their spirits up. Good start contained.
“He knows the season is long and a lot will go right and wrong before you get a chance to do something.
“I have a feeling that the players understand that and maybe that was the missing ingredient. They definitely had a feeling about them that wasn’t too confident. It was, ‘Really, we’ve done a good job so far. . is still a lot to do’. It was very encouraging to see.”
Brisbane defended like demons in first-up wins over Penrith and North Queensland, St George Illawarra put the sword to the sword in the final 10 minutes and came to blows with the Dolphins to prevail.
“It’s good to see them being so ruthless again,” Webcke said.
“The older players I started with at the Broncos had a hard edge. It wasn’t overconfidence or stubbornness which is often mistaken for that. They just had a belief and a desire. I had the start and grow from that in the first four rounds and I hope they keep it going.”
The Broncos made a habit of getting early wins in the 1990s and 2000s glory years.
“It sets up your season and is the foundation on which premierships are won,” Webcke said.
“Traditionally at the Broncos we’ve had good starts because we’d always be thinned out come Origin time. That’s been less of the case lately but you’d think that would be a thing with this Broncos team.
“You have to get those points in the bank, so if you hit the lull, you have that as a bit of a buffer.”
Webcke said Brisbane had been well led by Pat Carrigan and Payne Haas.
“Pat Carrigan is just ‘Mr Consistency’… and Payne is getting there too. When he’s great, there’s nothing better and he’s starting to put it together more often, which is key,” he said.