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Brisbane Broncos coach Wayne Bennett.

The Brisbane Broncos have never lost to the Wests Tigers as a joint venture at Campbelltown, but a victory against the odds on a cold winter's night 16 years ago defines what it means to pull on the famous jersey.

In a season where the Broncos celebrate 30 years in the big time and as they prepare to play Wests Tigers on Friday night, took a trip down memory lane to 2002 when the "Baby Broncos" were born.

Brisbane had six debutants, a plethora of stars in Maroons camp and half a dozen injured, but still prevailed 28-14 under captain Shane Walker.

"That night we showed that the Broncos have always been a team where, no matter who is put out there, everyone will do a job and is capable of doing a job," Walker told

"We had nine players in the Origin side and the group that played that night knew they'd be sitting in the foyer of the hotel watching the game.

"As much as you want to do your family proud, there is nothing like being able to play well for your teammates and sometimes for the ones that aren't playing.

"We turned up extremely confident we could get the job done and you could sense an over-confidence from the Wests Tigers, and then you could feel the fear of failure grip them when they realised early on in the game that they were in over their heads."

Shane Walker captained the Brisbane Broncos to a famous win over the Wests Tigers at Campbelltown Stadium in round 12 of 2002.
Shane Walker captained the Brisbane Broncos to a famous win over the Wests Tigers at Campbelltown Stadium in round 12 of 2002. ©NRL Photos

That night several future stars took the field, including Corey Parker, Scott Prince and Shaun Berrigan. 

"When you look at the players we had in our team who went on to have decorated careers, maybe we should have been a lot shorter in the betting," Walker said.

Walker said it was also a night where Craig Bellamy, then Wayne Bennett's assistant, "made it very obvious to us just how great a coach he was".

Bellamy took the reins for the contest with Bennett on Maroons coaching duty.

"It was all about the way Craig broke down a game and, more than we'd ever seen before, just how much he understood the opposition and their tendencies defensively," Walker said.

"Then he just gave the group a lot of confidence to be able to exploit areas of their game.

"I distinctly remember they had a left-hand winger named Hassan Saleh and off every scrum, he would get up extremely hard and jam in.

"Craig just said, 'I want you to show like you are going wide to the centre and entice him up even further and then have the confidence to kick for the corner for the winger'.

"He said if we had a scrum 40, 50 or 60 metres out to do it. We practised it, executed it and scored a try off it."

It is 26 years since the Broncos lost at Campbelltown, and that was against Western Suburbs before many of the current Broncos were born.

That perhaps explains Wayne Bennett's comment to reporters on Thursday when asked about the trip on Friday night.

"It is not somewhere that worries me to play. I quite enjoy it down there," he said.

Wests Tigers v Broncos

Broncos team v Wests Tigers in 2002: Nick Parfitt*, Steve Irwin, Casey McGuire, Stu Kelly, Scott Minto*, Brett Seymour, Scott Prince, Corey Parker, Shane Walker (c), Robert Tanielu*, Michael Coorey, Brad Meyers, Phil Lee. Interchange: Elia Tuqiri, Nathan Friend*, Chris Kahler*, Steve LaCaze* (*denotes debutants).

Acknowledgement of Country

National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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