Bennett's young guns' big game experience
Playing the past three premiers in the final three weeks of the season, veteran Broncos mentor Wayne Bennett is happy to see some of his inexperienced players rack up some big game experience.
After falling just short against the 2013 premiership-winning Roosters last Saturday, Bennett's troops will now refocus against reigning premiers South Sydney before seeing out the regular season against 2012 premiers Melbourne.
For the likes of halves Ben Hunt and Anthony Milford, Jordan Kahu, Corey Oates and his four bench players, Bennett is hoping the next fortnight will be the impetus behind his side building momentum ahead of the finals.
"It is a good test for us and it couldn't be much better for us probably. To play those quality teams, my young players here, a lot of them haven't played in those big games so it is a big event for them," Bennett said on Wednesday.
"We need these games over the next couple of weeks because it is foreign territory for them and that game on the weekend was much more intense than anything they have ever played before.
"They handled themselves plenty well and they should get a lot of confidence out of that and that's the good part about it."
Bennett meanwhile has labelled South Sydney hooker Issac Luke as the most important player ahead of the two clubs clashing on Thursday night.
Even though captain Greg Inglis will be missing due to a knee injury, Luke's return from a one-week suspension puts more fear in Bennett.
"I think Luke is their most important player personally. I rate him very, very highly and I love what he does every week," Bennett said.
"He will make a big difference coming back for them. It is what he does, it is what he creates and the way he plays.
"Sure Greg is one of the great players of our game so you always miss them, but they just have to manage it. We all go through that."
Another challenge lies in the fact the Broncos have had a mere five days to prepare for the Rabbitohs.
Not returning to Brisbane to instead focus on preparing in Sydney – and limit their interstate travel time – Bennett was intrigued by how his team will handle the short turnaround.
"That throws out a lot of your rest patterns. But that's the NRL, I'm not complaining about that," Bennett said.
"That's just what we have to do and all teams have done it throughout the season but that's our challenge right now. After that it should settle down and it should be much more controlled for the last five weeks."