Bennett happy with next generation of Broncos talent
Brisbane's history has been littered with efforts at State of Origin time by "the Baby Broncos" and coach Wayne Bennett would have a big smile of contentment inside of what the 2018 version is capable of producing.
The Broncos had "50 percent changes" in the team that thrashed Gold Coast on Sunday.
Brisbane tragics will never forget the Babes of 2002 that, without 11 Origin stars, beat a near full-strength Wests Tigers 28-14 at Campbelltown with young little-known players at the time like Casey McGuire, Brett Seymour, Corey Parker, Scott Prince, Shane Walker, Brad Meyers, Nathan Friend and Kris Kahler.
The Broncos have prided themselves on having the depth to cover the tough Origin period, and unleashing new stars at that time, and Sunday's side featured several players who are set to make their mark.
It contained David Fifita, just 18, in his second appearance; 20-year-old Kotoni Staggs in his fourth; Jake Turpin, 21, on debut; Jonus Pearson in his 11th; Jamayne Isaako, 22, in his 16th and Jayden Su’A, 20, in his 22nd. Payne Haas, 19, would have been there if not injured.
"We had seven players missing today, six of them are either in the Origin squad or had been Origin players and injured," said coach Wayne Bennett.
"We put another team on the park just about with 50 percent changes and I thought they all did a great job. It shows we have good depth and a lot of quality players coming through. It makes it a good place.
"It's a pity Payne isn’t playing for us as well because if he was fit he'd be there."
Fifita, the first NRL player born in the year 2000 (February 25), showed his unquestioned potential while Staggs, who proved unstoppable before being taken off the field with concussion in the 27th minute, is a phenomenal talent.
"I like what David brings because at the moment he is not trying to be the star of the show," Bennett said of Fifita.
"He knows he has an important role to play, which is making sure he is making his tackles and fitting his carries in and not trying to do any more than that.
"And I'm pleased about that because I don't want him getting in front of himself, he has a lot more to show us yet but it will be a year or two before that comes to the fore."
When you add more seasoned young forwards Joe Ofahengaue, 23, Matthew Lodge, 24 and Tevita Pangai jnr, 22, it lends to the argument that the Broncos are filled with more blossoming talent than they have ever been.