Confident Broncos in it to win this time around
FORMER club captain Sam Thaiday has revealed Brisbane never rated themselves as serious premiership threats in any of their last three finals campaigns.
But the 30-year-old forward, still sweating on a contract that will most likely see him end his career as a one-club player at the Broncos, said that wasn't the case this year.
Thaiday said the self-belief among the players under master coach Wayne Bennett was as good as he could recall in his time at Red Hill.
"We'd formed some bad habits and were weak in a number of areas. We weren't even 'in' those finals over the last few years," Thaiday told APN ahead of Brisbane's last premiership fixture of 2015 against the Melbourne Storm on Thursday night.
"We were there but we were just making up the numbers.
"Locky (Darren Lockyer) got us there in 2011 by slotting a field goal, but he couldn't play on because he'd fractured his cheekbone which was pretty devastating.
"We weren't really a chance in 2012 and 2014 either.
"This time though we (players) feel we've earned the right to play in the finals, that we're here for a reason, we've put in the hard work.
"We all feel part of this team, we've backed each other up, run hard, tackled hard and played for each other.
"This time there's a real sense of belonging. It's up to us now to get it done in the finals and do whatever it takes."
The veteran forward, who has his own cooking segment on a weekly rugby league TV program, said the ingredients to make a premiership were: "Great defence, some good forwards and a 1-6-7-9 combination that could get you around the field and come up with some big plays."
He added: "You also need a slice of luck, the occasional bounce of the ball and a few crucial calls to go your way."
Brisbane (second, 38 points) could still secure the minor premiership with victory over the Storm (fifth, 30 points), but South Sydney (seventh, 30 points) would have to pull off a big form reversal and upset the Roosters (first, 38 points) for the Broncos to finish on top.
Provided the Roosters and Brisbane both win, the Broncos would host an all-Queensland clash against the Cowboys at Suncorp Stadium in the first weekend of the finals.
The Cowboys have been a bogey team for their Queensland rivals in recent years, knocking the Broncos out of the finals in 2012 and 2014.