Bennett lauds ageless Parker
Wayne Bennett isn't a man to give away praise easily.
Former legends of the club would often crave receiving a simple 'well played' from the super coach in years gone by.
However, Bennett had no such qualms in lavishing praise on 311-game veteran Corey Parker after an outstanding 2015 Origin campaign.
The 33-year-old received the Wally Lewis Medal for Man of the Series after Queensland's 52-6 thrashing of New South Wales in the Suncorp Stadium decider.
Speaking ahead of Brisbane's Round 18 clash against the Bulldogs, Bennett lauded the workhorse forward, who played his 16th Origin on Wednesday night after making his Maroons debut as a 22-year-old at the same venue in Game Two, 2004.
"Corey reminds you that age isn't an issue. He's just getting better each year," Bennett said.
"I thought he was the best player of the series and outstanding for Queensland on Wednesday night.
"Who knows how many more games he can play or how many years he's got left?
"He's remarkable that he's 101 kilograms and plays against every big guy in the game. You get to know the game and how it all works in their mind but it's usually their bodies which give out on them."
Parker played three Origins in 2004/05 but spent six seasons in the representative wilderness before returning the Maroons set-up for the 2011 series, aged 29.
The tireless worker has played 13 out of a possible 15 games since his return to the Origin fold, becoming one of the first forwards selected on Mal Meninga's team sheet since his renaissance.
He has also established himself in the Australian Test side since debuting in the green and gold during the 2011 Four Nations.
Parker finished the 2015 Origin series averaging 136 metres and 31 tackles with eight offloads and two try assists, and was clearly emotional when accepting the Wally Lewis Medal after the match from the man himself.
"This [medal] is probably the most special thing I've achieved in my career," Parker told QRL TV following Origin III.
"To get this medal in a team with so many superstars is something very special. No one can take this off me and to win that game in the way we did is something I'll treasure very deeply."
Parker's squeaky-clean imagine was tested in the fallout from Origin III with a biting allegation level against him by NSW captain Paul Gallen.
The alleged bite took place just seconds before half-time as the Maroons pressed for another try, but it was wasn't noticed by officials despite Gallen's protests.
Parker was cleared of any wrongdoing by the NRL match review committee on Thursday with Gallen happy to leave the incident out on the playing field.
Bennett wasn't concerned in the slightest when quizzed about the play-the-ball incident.
"He can't bite anyway he's got false teeth," quipped Bennett.
"That's the first I've heard of it. How do you bite someone with a mouthguard in anyway?"
With the exception of a rested Justin Hodges and the injured Josh McGuire (Achilles), the 65-year-old will have a full deck of players to choose from against the Bulldogs.
A recent statistic revealed Brisbane's class of 2015 are currently in their best position after 15 games of the season, bettering all other Broncos' sides since the club's inception in 1988.
Currently top of the ladder, the Broncos will move to 30 competition points – and a guaranteed place within the top eight – with victory over the eighth-placed 'Dogs on Saturday night.
They are currently undefeated during the Origin period with the ANZ Stadium clash marking the final obstacle Bennett's men need to overcome before focusing on their run to the finals.
"I'm really pleased with the outcome for us [during Origin]. The [Origin players] have come back in good shape and they're happy," he said.
"They'll obviously be confident and have a lot of belief in themselves and that will hopefully have a rub-off effect on us."
The Broncos have won three straight against the Bulldogs and are due to clash with them again at home in Round 22.
Canterbury and Brisbane are both coming off impressive Round 16 victories against the Storm and Knights respectively and have a number of players backing up from Origin III.
"They've got a quality team and are playing some good football at the moment. They play a little bit differently to other teams so they'll be a handful and threaten us right across the park," Bennett added.
"Their big forwards run hard so it'll be a good test for us on Saturday night – it won't be a true test because we've just come out of Origin and they've also got players [backing up] as well.
"These next nine weeks is all about trying to finish well in the competition and see what we can do after that. Six of our games in the next nine weeks are against top-eight teams so we'll all be a lot wiser in a few weeks."