Bennett proud of resilient Broncos
They might have fallen short in their bid to pull off one of the most remarkable comebacks of the year, but the Broncos showed on Saturday night that they are never out of the contest after they rallied late to close within two points before eventually succumbing 18-16 to the Roosters at Allianz Stadium.
Wayne Bennett's men found themselves trailing by 12 points with just six minutes remaining on the clock but came roaring back into the contest courtesy of quick tries to Corey Oates and Tautau Moga down the left flank.
Remarkably, Jordan Kahu had a chance to level things up after the Moga try, but the usually-reliable sharpshooter hooked his tricky sideline conversion to keep the margin at two points.
There was still enough time for the Broncos to mount one last charge, but their razzle-dazzle ball movement came unstuck in the 80th minute when veteran playmaker Benji Marshall opted to kick instead of putting the Steeden through the hands.
It was the sort of spirit that has come to typify the Broncos over the years hence why Bennett never thought his side was out of the contest.
"It was a tough game and both teams came to do their best here tonight," Bennett said after the game.
"When you coach the Broncos, you never give up.
"They just don't give up; they just keep at it so I thought we could have pulled it off. It's just a fine line; if Benji passes and doesn't kick then we probably score the try. It comes down to one play in the last second of the game, that's not what you want."
While he questioned the last play tactics, Bennett was full of praise for Marshall who did a fantastic job filling in for Anthony Milford.
The veteran playmaker scored his side's first try and wound back the clock to set up Oates's second-half four-pointer with a glorious out ball to justify Bennett's decision to hand him a lifeline in 2017.
"I thought he had a pretty good game actually," Bennett said.
"I thought he was good, he was running the ball and doing things we probably haven't seen him do for a while."
Broncos skipper Darius Boyd was equally impressed with his side's willingness to fight until the very end.
"I thought our effort was awesome. It was just a few key areas that we let ourselves down in a little bit but apart from that I thought we played pretty well," Boyd said.
"It's like Wayne said, we're never out of a game and that's the most pleasing thing. Any time in that game we could have won it and we gave ourselves a chance and a hope which is always pleasing."