WAYNE Bennett shouted — and reshouted — the words no football coach should ever have to utter in September.
“Get excited, get excited … c’mon. Show some energy,’’ he hollered to his troops at what Broncos training regulars says was perhaps the most physical and intense Monday session of the year.
Bennett is not happy for a very clear reason.
Energy and excitement should be a given in September. Asking for it from players is a bit like urging a cow to give milk. It should just be there.
In fact, there are people who believe the key to Bennett’s exceptional grand final record is not because he has managed to wind players up in September but because he does the opposite.
When everyone else is losing their heads, he has tended to make a point of being more relaxed — even humorous — and the vibe catches on to his players who lift naturally for the weekend without stewing in their juices fretting over the match midweek.
This year it’s different.
The Broncos looked disconnected for most of the match and half asleep in the opening minutes of their loss against the Roosters and Bennett, normally so placid and laconic, is into them.
And they know it too.
“You know when you get told off when you’re younger and your parents always say, ‘I’m not angry, but I’m disappointed’ and it hurts a bit more? It was that kind of moment,” Jordan Kahu said of Bennett’s post-loss demeanour.
Asked to rate the level of Bennett’s post-match anger Kahu said not much but a lot at the same time by claiming “up there … that is all I will say about that.’’
Some of the hard tackles at Monday’s session were very unMonday.
The session was designed to rev up the Broncos for a spring-loaded start against the Panthers on Friday at Suncorp Stadium.
As much as Bennett’s coaching skills will be tested this week, his side’s fate may well be decided by elements out of his control.
The call on whether Boyd plays this week is their biggest of the season.
The temptation is to rest him, get him back for next week’s preliminary final against Melbourne where his presence would be an instant shot in the arm.
But the worry is being too cute could cost the club everything if they lose this week.
It’s a massive call.
If the Broncos lose on Friday Adam Blair, Ben Hunt and Herman Ese’ese will never again be seen in the club’s colours, reason enough to get excited and show some energy.