By STEVE MASCORD
FOUNDATION Brisbane coach Wayne Bennett expressed disappointment the Broncos had missed the finals for only the second time in 21 years.
Bennett’s Newcastle consigned the current Broncos to that ignominy, coming back from 14-0 down to score a 26-18 victory at Suncorp Stadium with Darius Boyd and Joey Leilua each scoring try braces.
Asked his feelings upon seeing the club he helped found in 1988 fail to make the play-offs, Bennett said: “Second time in 21 years?
“Yeah, I’m disappointed for them. Proud club … they’ve got a short history but it’s a wonderful history.
“But it happens, you’ve just got to get on with life, recognise what you’ve probably done wrong. It was a thing for us a long time here, that we prided ourselves on enormously.
“I can go back to so many different years where we just scraped into the finals. It was a whole part of our being, just knowing you’d be there.
“You mightn’t be there one year in the top four, but if you’re (in the eight), you’re never going to be far off it.
“They always found a way to get there, they always found a way to win. I don’t know about the current crop here. I’m not here now. I’m just talking about the past.”
Asked how it felt to have preside over one the Broncos’ worst seasons, coach Anthony Griffin said: “It doesn’t (feel like that) but it is what it is.
“You’ve got to look it square in the face and build off it. I thought the last six to eight weeks we were starting to build again.
“That first 40 or 50 minutes tonight, I thought we were giving ourselves a chance. Unfortunately, we’re just not there at the moment.
“But the statistics won’t like, they’ll tell a story. That’s something for you guys to report.
“It’s very disappointing, frustrating … (they) are probably the main things which are the obvious ones.
“We need to learn why we got so close in a number of games – exactly like tonight. It’s obvious it’s not where we want to be but we’ll learn from it.”
Late Friday, Knights team doctor Peter McGeoch said it was likely captain Kurt Gidley had suffered the same tendon injury in his right foot has he had previously incurred in his left and would be sidelined for the rest of the domestic season and the World Cup.
Australia utility Gidley suffered the agonising break scoring a try just after halftime that got the Knights on the road to victory.
Another key moment was the sin bin dismissal of Brisbane captain Sam Thaiday for repeated infringements.
A fortnight ago, Bennett accused top teams of deliberately conceding penalties and called on officials to use the sin bin more.
“It’s hard for them, I understand that,” he said. “No-one enjoys that part of it. But you can’t give away four penalties there on the tryline.
“If you’re going to give up four on your tryline in that space of time, something’s got to be done about it.”
Thaiday was tight-lipped on the issue. “it got to the point where he had to do something, and he did something,” said the second rower.
“I feel more disappointed I let my team-mates down. I was on the sideline, they scored a try.”
Bennett also said the key to winger Akuila Uate overcoming an ugly first half gaffe was encouraging him to forget about it.
“He’s got a tendency to take his divot with him when he makes a mistake,” said Bennett. “Having worked with him for two years, I kinda know what works.
“My job was to pick him up. He was great in the second half.”
Filed for: SYDNEY MORNING HERALD