Wayne Bennett returned to Brisbane Broncos training on Monday impressed with a squad which contains the quality youth he insists will guarantee the club’s future.
There was a real energy about the training session where players had a long stint in humid conditions working on their skills.
Bennett, back in clubland after guiding England to a World Cup final, was there fine tuning what needed to be fine-tuned and praising what needed to be praised, alongside his assistants Jason Demetriou and Kevin Walters.
At the end of the session there were smiles all around as the players shared plenty of light-hearted moments with their head coach.
Senior players Alex Glenn and Sam Thaiday were getting stuck in alongside impressive teenaged forward talents Payne Haas and David Fifita.
“There is a real future in this squad,” Bennett told NRL.com.
“A lot of our older players are away, coming off rep football, and [Anthony] Milford and Darius [Boyd] are down doing other drills because they are recovering from injuries.
“But I looked at them this morning and I thought ‘this is our future here’. On my watch here we have always planned for our present and our future.
“There is a good number of players here that will give us our future as well as our present.”
Bennett hasn’t interacted much with many of his new players and explained why it was important for them to see the jovial side of his personality.
“You’ve got to have a bit of fun with them, because that is part of what they do,” Bennett said.
“They have got to see the other side of you. There are a lot of young kids there that haven’t seen much of me so they need to know that I am approachable and that I am a normal guy.
“There is a hard side to me, and I know that. But there is another side to me and they need to know that too.”
Bennett has faith in the talent at his disposal, even though the Broncos squad doesn’t have an abundance of multiple premiership winners like Steve Renouf, Allan Langer, Shane Webcke and Darren Lockyer.
“It hasn’t had for a long time,” Bennett said.
“But we have an Anthony Milford. We’ve got a Darius Boyd, and we’ve got a Jack Bird out there somewhere.
“There is a lot of talented people here and a whole group of kids from 17 to 21 sitting underneath them that we all think just need opportunities.
“They are spending time with us so we can get them up to speed to play in the top club in the NRL.”