Results still not top priority for Bennett
Wayne Bennett has been preaching a sermon of consistency and performance since the Broncos' heavy opening round defeat against the Rabbitohs.
Not overly concerned with results at the beginning of the season, Bennett's main focus was to transform the inconsistent Broncos back to the well-oiled winning machine that fans became accustomed to during the club's glory years of the 1990s.
It was never going to be a quick fix for the master coach, as signified by his three-year contract, but even Bennett wouldn't have expected his beloved Broncos to have gone through this year's Origin period undefeated while winning 15 out of 18 games at the conclusion of Round 20.
However, the following week the Broncos churned out a rare lacklustre performance in a 44-14 loss to the Sea Eagles. The Broncos showed improvement in their two-point loss to the Bulldogs in Round 22, but after another two-point defeat two the Roosters in Round 24 the form guide shows Brisbane losing three out of their last four games.
As a result the Broncos have relinquished the two-point lead they held at the top of the Telstra Premiership ladder, leaving their minor premiership aspirations hinging on other results and making a two-top finish a more realistic proposition.
The Broncos will receive two home finals if they finish in the top two, but face pressure from the third-placed Cowboys who are also striving for the same outcome.
If Bennett was concerned by Brisbane's recent lack of winning form and the possibility of missing out on a top-two finish, he didn't show it after his side's loss to the Roosters.
"It's always nice (to play a home final), but we play so much away and we've won a lot of games away so we're not a bad away team," Bennett said.
"It's no big deal to me – what's important to me is we're playing well and we played well [against the Roosters]."
The Broncos hold a 7-4 away record this season which has seen them win games in Sydney, Auckland, Melbourne, Canberra, Newcastle and the Gold Coast.
Brisbane's home record stands at 9-2, with their only losses at Suncorp Stadium coming against the Rabbitohs and Bulldogs.
While Bennett's philosophy of performance over results so late in the regular season may leave some scratching their heads, veteran forward and 2006 premiership winner Sam Thaiday says the Broncos are merely preparing themselves for action in September.
"Results and outcomes aren't something we are fully focussing on; we are more focussed on trying to get our processes right in these last few games so that when the semi-finals roll around we're ready to go," Thaiday said.
"It still hurts, losing, but we've worked hard throughout the year to put us in the position we're in.
"At the moment we are guaranteed to finish in the top three and that's really good for us after Round 1.
"We want to make sure once we are in the semi-finals we can give it a red-hot crack."
Andrew McCullough is another of Bennett's troops who believes the hard work the team has put in since their capitulation against Souths can afford them the luxury of tapering off slightly before ramping up their efforts come finals time.
"We've worked hard and slowly but surely chipped away at what we needed to do to get right and we've got ourselves there now," McCullough said.
"The way we've positioned ourselves on the table shows that we are getting it right."
Brisbane's ladder position – six points clear of fourth-placed Souths – allows Bennett to rest players for Thursday's clash against the Rabbitohs at Allianz Stadium.
The Bunnies are coming off a 14-point loss to the Bulldogs and are without injured skipper Greg Inglis, although they'll welcome back Issac Luke and Luke Keary from suspension.
McCullough is tipping his side will show the Rabbitohs just how much they've improved since the opening night of the season.
"We didn't know what we had in Round 1," he said.
"We had some new faces in the team and were working on a new defensive structure. We took a lot out of that game and what the benchmark needed to be.
"Souths are a quality team and they obviously played disappointingly against the Bulldogs so they'll want to turn it around this week."