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Brisbane Broncos players.

Broncos premiership winner Brent Tate insists the club can quickly return to its glory days but has urged the next coach to embrace  Wayne Bennett's legacy.

Tate, who played 115 games for Brisbane in seven seasons, believes the horribly out-of-sorts Broncos of 2020 can be fixed but only if some lessons are learned by everyone at the club from the top down.

Of the coaches available in 2021, the frontrunners are former Cowboys coach Paul Green and Maroons coach and five-time Broncos premiership winner Kevin Walters.

Tate played under Green in the final season of his four-year stint at the Cowboys while Walters was an assistant coach while he was at the Broncos.

The 2006 premiership winner said he was not in a position to know how former coach Anthony Seibold approached the Bennett legacy but over the last two years there was a distinct absence of mentioning his predecessor's name or the successes of the past.

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Bennett's record of six premierships in 25 seasons, and his run of 21 consecutive years of reaching the finals in two iterations as coach, has led some in the game to refer to coaching Brisbane as a "poisoned chalice".

"That legacy is not something to be afraid of though. That is something you embrace, recognise and appreciate," Tate told

"What Wayne did there and built there is amazing. That's not a negative for an incoming coach. I think that is a positive.

"There are things that Wayne put in place that you can still use today around the success and culture of the place that are non-negotiable.

"He is a great coach and a successful one, so run with it. He was the Broncos. He is the Broncos, regardless of what we all think and say.

It is not as broken at the Broncos as everyone thinks

Premiership-winner Brent Tate

"The shadow of Wayne is not something that I would be afraid of anyway."

The fact Penrith missed the finals last year and now top the table, while Parramatta are in the top four after receiving the wooden spoon in 2018 shows that quick turnarounds are possible.

The Broncos are in 15th position but Tate said that could be just an aberration.

"You can go through history and there are lessons of teams turning it around quickly,” Tate said

"The Roosters got their arses kicked a few years ago [in 2016] and were next to last on the ladder and turned it around to win the comp two years later.

"It is not as broken at the Broncos as everyone thinks.

"They have a group of good young kids coming through, the best of the best. Sure there needs to be a few tweaks there but it doesn't take much to turn things around.

Brent Tate during his playing days for the Broncos.
Brent Tate during his playing days for the Broncos. ©NRL Photos

"You make a couple of changes here and there player and staff-wise and you watch the place get back to where it was. I’d love to be a part of it. I think it would be amazing."

Green and Walters have different strengths, according to Tate, "so it is going to depend on what the club is looking for and thinks it needs right now, but there is an argument for both of them".

"Kevvie having a connection back to the club, and his passion, are strengths. If he gets the job having experienced assistants around him will be key.

"Kevvie knows the place and getting the players to rediscover what the Broncos mean is critical at the moment.

"Greeny is one of the best technical coaches that I have been coached by and a strong personality who handled the pressure cooker at the Cowboys. I was disappointed I only had 12 months under Greeny because I think I could have had even more improvement under him.

"He is very good with the nuances of the game and at the time the club was screaming out for what he brings.

"The Old Boys have got to embrace the new coach, not the other way around.

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"We care about the place and love it but I think it is our responsibility – whether it is Kevvie, Greeny or whoever – to not be throwing darts. It is for us to get right behind them."  

Tate is of the view that coaching the Broncos is the biggest job in sport. 

"Whether you like it or not the responsibility is the expectation to do well and achieve excellence," he said.

"When I pulled on a Broncos jersey my thought was always that we are going to win the game because that was just what was expected.

"Along with that comes a fair bit of pressure but I loved it, so I think the players need to be given a history lesson about what the club is about.

"Accountability from top to bottom within the club is something that needs to be looked at as well. From what I can gather, that is lacking and needs to be addressed."

There is one thing Tate would encourage any new coach to bring back - the traditional player barbecue, which media once attended, after the final training session.

"People might sit back and laugh and say ‘what does that matter’, but it does. Sometimes those things do matter."

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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