Wallace ready for Broncos farewell
Retiring Brisbane captain Corey Parker might just be the main narrative of Thursday night's clash as he prepares for what could be his last match at Suncorp Stadium, but another Bronco faces the possibility of running out onto Lang Park with Brisbane for the last time.
Prop Jarrod Wallace will play his last regular season home game in Brisbane colours, over six years since he first signed with the Broncos.
The 25-year-old is off to the Titans next year, and Brisbane's loss will be Gold Coast's gain as the bulky front-rower looks to take his game to another level.
But Wallace won't forget the opportunities he's received at the Broncos, taking time out from preparations for Brisbane's clash against Sydney to thank Wayne Bennett for giving him a chance when the master coach returned to the club in 2015.
"I'm very thankful to the Broncos. I owe this club everything. I got my start here and I've been given such great opportunities," Wallace said.
"When Wayne came back to the club he gave me a second chance. He didn't get rid of me and he gave me an opportunity to show what I could do.
"Two years ago I was playing five or six minutes a game. I was lucky to even be playing full-time footy. Wayne gave me my second chance.
"It's crazy to think that I went from not playing at all to playing a grand final last year. I'm just stoked that I'm doing what I love and get to do it every week."
Wallace is appreciative of every minute of game time Bennett has given him, and for good reason too.
In 2014 Wallace had to endure a terrible period under former coach Anthony Griffin where he sat on Brisbane's bench for 160 minutes straight.
Wallace collected splinters for the first two matches of the Broncos' 2014 campaign and it left him wondering whether he was good enough for first grade.
But he kept his head up and turned his misfortune around, and when Bennett returned in 2015 it sparked a response from Wallace as he produced a career-best year that almost finished in a grand final victory.
"I was pretty devastated when I had to sit on the bench for a couple of those matches," Wallace told NRL.com
"We train all year to play footy and that's what I love doing. It was killing me when I wasn't playing, but I had all the boys to help me.
"I had a strong foundation at home and I just kept telling myself that I could do it.
"Then when Wayne returned I needed to prove to myself and to everyone that I could do it.
"That was the biggest thing for me and I'm stoked that I got the opportunity to do it."
It's for that reason that Wallace is determined to finish his career at the Broncos on a high.
A win on Thursday night would guarantee a home final for Brisbane, but Wallace is hoping for more as the Broncos continue to gather momentum heading into sudden-death football.
"My biggest thing this year once I signed with the Gold Coast was to keep playing good footy," he said.
"I didn't want to disappoint them or let them down after everything they've done for me.
"Hopefully we can keep going well towards the semi-finals and I can leave the club on a good note."
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